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Developmental Immunology
Volume 3 (1993), Issue 3, Pages 159-174

Positive and Negative Selection in Transgenic Mice Expressing a T-Cell Receptor Specific for Influenza Nucleoprotein and Endogenous Superantigen

1Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, National Institute for Medical Research, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, London NW7 1AA, UK
2Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK
3Clinical Research Centre, Watford Road, Harrow, Middlesex, HA1 3UJ, UK

Received 3 November 1992; Accepted 4 January 1993

Copyright © 1993 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A transgenic mouse was generated expressing on most (>80%) of thymocytes and peripheral T cells a T-cell receptor isolated from a cytotoxic T-cell clone (F5). This clone is CD8+ and recognizes αα366-374 of the nucleoprotein (NP 366-374) of influenza virus (A/NT/60/68), in the context of Class ,MHC Db (Townsend et al., 1986). The receptor utilizes the Vβ11 and Vα4 gene segments for the β chain and α chain, respectively (Palmer et al., 1989). The usage of Vβ11 makes this TcR reactive to Class II IE molecules and an endogenous ligand recently identified as a product of the endogenous mammary tumour viruses (Mtv) 8, 9, and 11 (Dyson et al., 1991). Here we report the development of F5 transgenic T cells and their function in mice of the appropriate MHC (C57BL/10 H-2b, IE-) or in mice expressing Class II MHC IE (e.g., CBA/Ca H-2k and BALB/c H-2d) and the endogenous Mtv ligands. Positive selection of CD8+ T cells expressing the Vβ11 is seen in C57BL/10 transgenic mice (H-2b). Peripheral T cells from these mice are capable of killing target cells in an antigen-dependent manner after a period of in vitro culture with IL-2. In the presence of Class II MHC IE molecules and the endogenous Mtv ligand, most of the single-positive cells carrying the transgenic T-cell receptor are absent in the thymus. Unexpectedly, CD8+ peripheral T-cells in these (H-2k or H-2d) F5 mice are predominantly Vβ11 positive and also have the capacity to kill targets in an antigen-dependent manner. This is true even following backcrossing of the F5 TcR transgene to H-2d scid/scid mice, in which functional rearrangement of endogenous TcR alpha- and beta-chain genes is impaired.