Isolation and characterization of a cDNA clone encoding the murine homologue of the human 20K T3/T-cell receptor glycoprotein
The antigen receptor on the surface of human T lymphocytes, which consists of a heterodimer of relative molecular mass (Mr) 90,000 (90K) (α- and β-chains), is associated with the T3 antigen (γ = 25K, δ = 20K and ∊ = 20K)1-7. A working model for the mode of action of the T3/T-cell receptor complex is that the clonotypic α- and β-chains are involved in the recognition and binding of antigen in the context of polymorphic major histocompatibility complex (MHC) gene products on the surface of target cells. Antigen binding by the clonotypic receptor probably results in conformational changes in this structure which are recognized by and subsequently trigger the associated T3 complex to transmit signals into the cell, resulting in a proliferative response8-10. The similarity in structure between murine and human clonotypic antigen receptors11-15 suggests that such a mechanism of recognition and activation also exists in mouse T lymphocytes, but so far there has been no evidence for the existence of a murine T3 complex. Here we demonstrate the existence of a T3δ-chain mRNA in murine T lymphocytes. Our sequence data strongly suggest that this mouse mRNA codes for a complete T3δ polypeptide chain and reveal some interesting properties of the protein.