Downregulated Expression of Ly-6-ThB on Developing T Cells Marks CD4+CD8+ Subset Undergoing Selection in the Thymus
Interaction of TCRs on CD4+CD8+ immature T cell with MHC-peptide complexes on stromal cells is required for positive and negative selection in the thymus. Identification and characterization of a subpopulation of CD4+CD8+ thymocytes undergoing selection in the thymus will aid in understanding the mechanisms underlying lineage commitment and thymic selection. Herein, we describe the expression of Ly-6 ThB on developing thymocytes. The majority of CD4+CD8+ thymocytes express Ly-6 ThB at high levels. Its expression is downregulated in a subset of CD4+CD8+ thymocytes as well as in mature CD4+CD8- and CD4-CD8+ T cells. More importantly, interaction of TCR/coreceptor with the self-MHC-peptide contributes to the downregulation of ThB expression on developing thymocytes. These findings indicate that downregulation of ThB on CD4+CD8+ thymocytes identifies a unique subset (CD4+CD8+ThBneg–low) of thymocytes that has received the initial signals for thymic selection but have not yet downregulated the CD4 and CD8 cell surface expression. In addition, these results also indicate that a high frequency (Ÿ20–40%) of CD4+CD8+ immature thymocytes receive these initial signals during thymic selection.
Copyright © 2001 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.