Highly restricted expression of the thymus leukemia antigens on intestinal epithelial cells.

Wu M, van Kaer L, Itohara S, Tonegawa S
J Exp Med. 1991 174 (1): 213-8

PMID: 1711563 · PMCID: PMC2118879 · DOI:10.1084/jem.174.1.213

The TL region of the major histocompatibility complex of the mouse contains dozens of tandemly arranged class I genes, including those encoding the thymus leukemia (TL) antigens. TL antigens have been thought to be expressed only on the surface of some T lineage cells, namely immature thymocytes of some mouse strains (TL+ strains), some leukemia cells, and activated T cells. While the function of TL antigens is unknown, recent studies have implicated the products of at least some TL region class I genes as molecules that present antigens to gamma/delta T cells. Since some gamma/delta T cells are known to be specifically associated with certain epithelial tissues, we have investigated the expression of some TL region class I genes in a variety of epithelium-containing tissues. Our results show that the TL antigen gene of C57BL/6 mice, T3b, and the TL antigen genes of BALB/c mice, T3d (previously T3c) and T18d (previously T13c), are highly expressed in the epithelium of the small intestine. In the case of T3b, we further show, using a T3 product-specific antibody, that its product is expressed on the surface of the columnar epithelial cells. In addition, we demonstrated that two other TL region class I genes of C57BL/6 origin, T9b and T21b, are also expressed nearly exclusively in intestinal epithelial cells. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the products of these TL region class I genes are recognized by gamma/delta T cell receptors of intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes, a subset of gamma/delta T cells that is localized in the intestinal epithelium and has a restricted V gamma repertoire. Finally, our study indicates that the relative levels of expression of the two homologous TL antigen genes, T3d and T18d, differ widely between the thymus and the intestine.

MeSH Terms (23)

Animals Antibodies, Monoclonal Base Sequence Cell Line Epithelial Cells Epithelium Female Genes, MHC Class I Intestine, Large Intestine, Small L Cells Membrane Glycoproteins Mice Mice, Inbred BALB C Mice, Inbred C57BL Molecular Sequence Data Oligonucleotide Probes Organ Specificity Polymerase Chain Reaction Restriction Mapping RNA Thymus Gland Transfection

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