Crucial role of the pre-T-cell receptor alpha gene in development of alpha beta but not gamma delta T cells

Nature. 1995 Jun 29;375(6534):795-8. doi: 10.1038/375795a0.


In T-cell precursors, the T-cell-receptor beta chain is expressed before the T-cell-receptor alpha chain and is sufficient to advance T-cell development in the absence of T-cell receptor alpha chains. In immature T cells, the T-cell-receptor beta protein can form disulphide-linked heterodimers with the pre-T-cell-receptor alpha chain and associate with signal-transducing CD3 molecules. The recently cloned pre-T-cell-receptor alpha gene encodes a transmembrane protein that is expressed in immature but not mature T cells. Here we show that alpha beta, but not gamma delta, cell development is severely hampered in pre-T-cell-receptor alpha-gene-deficient mice, which establishes a crucial role for the pre-T-cell receptor in early thymocyte development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Gene Targeting
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / analysis
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / genetics*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / physiology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / analysis
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta