Junctional sequences of T cell receptor gamma delta genes: implications for gamma delta T cell lineages and for a novel intermediate of V-(D)-J joining

Cell. 1989 Dec 1;59(5):859-70. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(89)90609-0.


Nucleotide sequences of a large number of V-(D)-J junctions of T cell receptor (TCR) gamma and delta genes show that most fetal thymocytes express on their surface one of just two gamma delta TCRs known to be expressed by epidermal gamma delta T cells (s-IEL) or intraepithelial gamma delta T cells associated with female reproductive organs (r-IEL). In contrast, gamma delta TCRs expressed on adult thymocytes are highly diverse as a result of multiple combinations of gene segments as well as junctional deletions and insertions, indicating that developmental time-and cell lineage-dependent mechanisms exist that control the extent of gamma delta TCR diversity. In addition, this study revealed a new type of junctional insertion (P nucleotides), which led to a new model of V-(D)-J joining generally applicable to immunoglobulin and TCR genes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Base Sequence
  • Codon / genetics
  • Fetus
  • Gene Amplification
  • Genes*
  • Genes, Immunoglobulin*
  • Immunoglobulin Joining Region / genetics*
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / genetics*
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Thymus Gland / growth & development
  • Thymus Gland / immunology


  • Codon
  • Immunoglobulin Joining Region
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell