CD8 is needed for development of cytotoxic T cells but not helper T cells

Cell. 1991 May 3;65(3):443-9. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(91)90462-8.


A mutant mouse strain without CD8 (Lyt-2 and Lyt-3) expression on the cell surface has been generated by disrupting the Lyt-2 gene using embryonic stem cell technology. In these mice, CD8+ T lymphocytes are not present in peripheral lymphoid organs, but the CD4+ T lymphocyte population seems to be unaltered. Cytotoxic response of T lymphocytes from these mice against alloantigens and viral antigens is dramatically decreased. Proliferative response against alloantigens and in vivo help to B lymphocytes, however, are not affected. These data suggest that CD8 is necessary for the maturation and positive selection of class I MHC restricted cytotoxic T lymphocytes but is not required on any of the intermediate thymocyte populations (CD8+CD4-TcR- or CD4+CD8+TcRlow) during the development of functional class II MHC restricted helper T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / immunology*
  • Antigens, Ly / immunology
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology
  • Base Sequence
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Genes, MHC Class I
  • Genes, MHC Class II
  • Isoantigens / immunology
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology*
  • Thymus Gland / immunology
  • Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus / immunology


  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • Antigens, Ly
  • Antigens, Viral
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Isoantigens