An endogenous retrovirus mediating deletion of alpha beta T cells?

Nature. 1991 Feb 7;349(6309):529-30. doi: 10.1038/349529a0.


A special class of self-antigens (endogenous superantigens) is capable of deleting many murine T cells on the basis of their expression of particular T-cell receptor V beta gene segments. In mice that endogenously express these antigens, tolerance is mediated in part by the clonal deletion of the relevant V beta-bearing T cells. The deletion of I-E-reactive V beta 5.2-bearing T cells is dependent on the coexpression of an I-E tolerogenic coligand (Etc)14 and the gene for one of these coligands, Etc-1, maps to chromosome 12, near the mouse mammary tumour viral integrant, Mtv-9. Here we report a perfect genetic linkage between Etc-1 and Mtv-9 and show that Etc-1 is also involved in the I-E-dependent deletion of T cells bearing V beta 5.1 and V beta 11 domains. We also demonstrate that Mtv-9 transcripts are present in B cells expressing Etc-1 and suggest that the coligand recognized by roughly 15% of all T lymphocytes is encoded by the Mtv-9 genome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Surface / genetics*
  • Autoantigens / genetics
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Mammary Tumor Virus, Mouse / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Minor Lymphocyte Stimulatory Antigens
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology*


  • Antigens, Surface
  • Autoantigens
  • DNA, Viral
  • Minor Lymphocyte Stimulatory Antigens
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta