Beta 2-microglobulin deficient mice lack CD4-8+ cytolytic T cells

Nature. 1990 Apr 19;344(6268):742-6. doi: 10.1038/344742a0.


Mice homozygous for a beta 2-microglobulin gene disruption do not express any detectable beta 2-m protein. They express little if any functional major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I antigen on the cell surface yet are fertile and apparently healthy. They show a normal distribution of gamma delta, CD4+8+ and CD4+8- T cells, but have no mature CD4-8+ T cells and are defective in CD4-8+ T cell-mediated cytotoxicity. Our results strongly support earlier evidence that MHC class I molecules are crucial for positive selection of T cell antigen receptor alpha beta+ CD4-8+ T cells in the thymus and call into question the non-immune functions that have been ascribed to MHC class I molecules.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • H-2 Antigens / immunology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / analysis
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / immunology
  • Homozygote
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Mutation
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / analysis
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology
  • Receptors, Fc / physiology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / cytology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / deficiency*
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / genetics


  • H-2 Antigens
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Receptors, Fc
  • beta 2-Microglobulin