Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate induces surface expression of T3 on human immature T cell lines with and without concomitant expression of the T cell antigen receptor complex

Eur J Immunol. 1987 Aug;17(8):1079-87. doi: 10.1002/eji.1830170802.


The T3 complex is known to be expressed on the cell surface of mature T cells together with either the alpha-beta heterodimeric T cell receptor (TCR) or the TCR gamma protein. In a number of immature T cell malignancies, however, T3 has been described exclusively in the cytoplasm. We have investigated five such T cell lines with cytoplasmic T3 and could demonstrate by biosynthetic labeling the presence of the alpha and beta chains of the TCR in the cytoplasm of two of them, CEM and Ichikawa. No surface TCR alpha-beta protein could be detected by staining with the WT31 antibody. These observations, therefore, argue against the concept that expression of the TCR alpha chain controls the surface expression of the T3/TCR complex. Interestingly, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) induced cell surface expression of T3 protein in these two cell lines only. Moreover, on surface-iodinated CEM cells no association of T3 and TCR molecules could be demonstrated after treatment with PMA, and expression of TCR alpha and beta chains was limited to the cytoplasm. In Ichikawa cells, however, PMA induced surface expression of a mature T3/TCR complex. Our findings indicate that separate regulatory mechanisms may exist for the surface expression of the T3 proteins and for the assembly of the T3/TCR complex.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Surface / metabolism*
  • CD3 Complex
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / immunology
  • Cytoplasm / immunology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kinetics
  • Leukemia
  • Molecular Weight
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism*
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / pharmacology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Surface
  • CD3 Complex
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate