Multiple constraints at the level of TCRalpha rearrangement impact Valpha14i NKT cell development.
CD1d-restricted NKT cells that express an invariant Valpha14 TCR represent a subset of T cells implicated in the regulation of several immune responses, including autoimmunity, infectious disease, and cancer. Proper rearrangement of Valpha14 with the Jalpha18 gene segment in immature thymocytes is a prerequisite to the production of a TCR that can be subsequently positively selected by CD1d/self-ligand complexes in the thymus and gives rise to the NKT cell population. We show here that Valpha14 to Jalpha rearrangements are temporally regulated during ontogeny providing a molecular explanation to their late appearance in the thymus. Using mice deficient for the transcription factor RORgamma and the germline promoters T early-alpha and Jalpha49, we show that developmental constraints on both Valpha and Jalpha usage impact NKT cell development. Finally, we demonstrate that rearrangements using Valpha14 and Jalpha18 occur normally in the absence of FynT, arguing that the effect of FynT on NKT cell development occurs subsequent to alpha-chain rearrangement. Altogether, this study provides evidence that there is no directed rearrangement of Valpha14 to Jalpha18 segments and supports the instructive selection model for NKT cell selection.
Hager, E; Hawwari, A; Matsuda, JL; Krangel, MS; Gapin, L
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