Expression of CR2/EBV receptors on human thymocytes detected by monoclonal antibodies

Eur J Immunol. 1988 Aug;18(8):1299-302. doi: 10.1002/eji.1830180823.


The biologic effects of the third component of complement, C3, are mediated via receptors which specifically bind the enzymatic degradation products resulting from the cleavage of C3. One of the products, C3d, has been associated with binding to the second complement receptor CR2 (CD21). This receptor, which is identical to the receptor for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), has been primarily found on cells of the B lineage, but not on mature T cells or other cells of erythroid or myeloid lineages. In the present investigation, we report the presence of CR2 on human thymocytes. Indirect immunofluorescence analysis employing monoclonal anti-CR2 antibodies revealed a range of thymocyte reactivity from 15% to 63% in thirteen experiments using cells of different donors. Reactivity was always greater with the monoclonal anti-CR2 (CD21) antibody HB-5 than with two other antibodies which recognize distinct epitopes on the CR2 molecule. Two-color immunofluorescence analysis indicated that the brightest of the HB-5-stained thymocytes also reacted with the monoclonal anti-CD1 antibody T6 (immature thymocyte marker) while some of the duller HB-5-staining cells reacted with the monoclonal anti-CD3 antibody Leu-4 (mature thymocyte marker). Immunoprecipitation of CR2 on thymocytes with antibody HB-5 and polyacrylamide gel electrophoretic analysis revealed a protein of 145 kDa molecular mass which is consistent with the size of CR2 found on B lymphocytes. These findings raise several questions regarding the biologic role of CR2-EBV receptor on cells of the T lineage.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Molecular Weight
  • Receptors, Complement / immunology*
  • Receptors, Complement 3d
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Thymus Gland / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Receptors, Complement
  • Receptors, Complement 3d