Locus-specific somatic hypermutation in germinal centre T cells.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Somatic hypermutation and affinity-driven selection of active immunoglobulin genes occur in germinal centres (GCs), resulting in the generation of high-affinity memory B cells. In contrast, T lymphocytes do not require the germinal centre microenvironment to establish memory and the T-cell antigen receptor (TCR) genes, though homologous to immunoglobulin genes, are believed to be incapable of hypermutation. Here we present direct evidence that the small population of antigen-specific T cells that are recruited into splenic GCs acquire mutations in the variable region of genes encoding TCR alpha-chains (V alpha) but not those of beta-chains. These locus-specific mutations reach frequencies comparable to mutated immunoglobulin VH exons recovered from the same site and exhibit similar substitution biases and DNA strand polarity. T cells bearing identical mutations appear in multiple GCs, raising the possibility that some cells bearing mutant TCRs may re-enter the peripheral lymphocyte pool.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zheng, B; Xue, W; Kelsoe, G

Published Date

  • December 8, 1994

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 372 / 6506

Start / End Page

  • 556 - 559

PubMed ID

  • 7990929

Pubmed Central ID

  • 7990929

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0028-0836

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/372556a0


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England