CD4 expression is differentially required for deletion of MLS-1a-reactive T cells

J Exp Med. 1992 Nov 1;176(5):1459-63. doi: 10.1084/jem.176.5.1459.


Clonal deletion of thymocytes expressing potentially self-reactive T cell receptors (TCRs) occurs during thymocyte ontogeny. Mice deficient for CD4 expression provide a unique model system to study the contribution of the CD4 molecule in negative selection of T cells reactive against the major histocompatibility complex class II-associated retroviral self-superantigen, Mls-1a. In the presence of Mls-1a determinants, mature CD8+ T cells expressing V beta 6, 8.1, and 9 were deleted in CD4-deficient mice, thus demonstrating that TCR affinity for Mls-1a is sufficient for deletion and that a signal through CD4 was not required. However, in instances where the TCR affinity for Mls-1a is low, as in the case of V beta 7+ T cells, CD4 expression was required for clonal deletion. These results demonstrate that for Mls-1a-mediated clonal deletion of T cells, the requirement for the accessory or coreceptor function of CD4 depends on the affinity of the TCR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4 Antigens / analysis
  • CD4 Antigens / physiology*
  • H-2 Antigens / analysis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Minor Lymphocyte Stimulatory Antigens / immunology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / analysis
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • CD4 Antigens
  • H-2 Antigens
  • Minor Lymphocyte Stimulatory Antigens
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta