Created on 15th August 2017
Mature T cells bearing ab T cell receptors react with foreign antigens bound to alleles of major histocompatibility complex proteins (MHC) that they were exposed to during their development in the thymus, a phenomenon known as positive selection. The structural basis for positive selection has long been debated. Here, using mice expressing one of two different T cell receptor b chains and various MHC alleles, we show that positive selection-induced MHC bias of T cell receptors is affected both by the germline encoded elements of the T cell receptor a and b chain and, surprisingly, dramatically affected by the non germ line encoded CDR3 of the T cell receptor a chain. Thus, in addition to determining specificity for antigen, the non germline encoded elements of T cell receptors may help the proteins cope with the extremely polymorphic nature of major histocompatibility complex products within the species.Show more
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