TCR beta and TCR alpha gene enhancers confer tissue- and stage-specificity on V(D)J recombination events

EMBO J. 1993 Nov;12(11):4335-46.


We describe transgenic mice carrying germline variable gene segments associated with either the T cell receptor (TCR) beta or alpha gene enhancers (E beta or E alpha). Transgenic constructs underwent high rates of site-specific rearrangements predominantly in T cells from independent mice. Rearrangements of the E beta-containing transgenes began at different stages of T cell differentiation in embryonic and adult thymus than did the E alpha-containing ones, with a pattern superimposable upon the patterns of TCR beta or TCR alpha gene expression, respectively. We demonstrate that sequences within the TCR beta and TCR alpha gene enhancers confer tissue- and stage-specificity upon the V(D)J recombination events affecting adjacent gene segments. The patterns of transgene expression also gave information on developmental events and lineage relationships (gamma delta versus alpha beta) during T cell development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • DNA Nucleotidyltransferases / metabolism
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic / genetics*
  • Gene Rearrangement, alpha-Chain T-Cell Antigen Receptor*
  • Gene Rearrangement, beta-Chain T-Cell Antigen Receptor*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / immunology
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / genetics*
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Thymus Gland / embryology
  • Thymus Gland / immunology
  • VDJ Recombinases


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • DNA Nucleotidyltransferases
  • VDJ Recombinases