Characterization of the human T cell receptor alpha-chain repertoire and demonstration of a genetic influence on V alpha usage

Eur J Immunol. 1993 May;23(5):1153-9. doi: 10.1002/eji.1830230526.


Despite considerable knowledge of the determinants and profile of the T cell receptor (TCR) beta-chain repertoire, very little is known about the repertoire of the V alpha and J alpha segments of the TCR in man or mouse. We have used the anchored polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to analyze the human TCR alpha-chain repertoire at the mRNA level in peripheral blood lymphocytes. We find marked differences in the usage of individual V alpha segments. The V alpha repertoire is determined both by differences in the use of individual V alpha gene segments at the time of gene rearrangement and by genetic influences on the selection of the expressed V alpha repertoire, presumably during thymic maturation. Analysis of the J alpha repertoire shows non-random usage of individual J alpha segments but no obvious relationship to chromosomal position. We also report three new V alpha segments, three new J alpha segments and possible allelic variation in V alpha gene segments. Two unusual TCR alpha transcripts are described which add new information on the nature of TCR alpha transcript assembly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA, Messenger / chemistry
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / chemistry
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / genetics*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta

Associated data

  • GENBANK/X68693
  • GENBANK/X68694
  • GENBANK/X68695
  • GENBANK/X68696
  • GENBANK/X68697
  • GENBANK/X68698
  • GENBANK/Z14164
  • GENBANK/Z14165
  • GENBANK/Z14166
  • GENBANK/Z14167