Differentiation of human T lymphocytes. I. Acquisition of a novel human cell surface protein (p80) during normal intrathymic T cell maturation.
The thymus is thought to be the primary central lymphoid organ in which T cells mature. Although thymic cortical and medullary compartments are distinct histologically, few antigens have been described that are absolutely acquired during the presumed intrathymic maturation pathway from cortical to medullary thymocytes. In this paper, we describe the acquisition during human intrathymic T cell maturation of a novel protein (p80) defined by a monoclonal antibody (A1G3). Although the p80-A1G3 antigen is distributed throughout the body and is not T cell specific, our study demonstrates that expression of p80-A1G3 antigen in normal human thymus is associated with thymocyte functional maturity and location in the thymus medulla. Moreover, in contrast to other markers of mature human T cells, the p80-A1G3 cell surface protein is not expressed on T6+ cortical thymocytes, and, therefore, is absolutely acquired by medullary thymocytes during T cell maturation. Thus, the p80-A1G3 antigen and the A1G3 antibody provide a heretofore unavailable system for the study of molecular events that transpire during the maturation of thymocytes.
Haynes, BF; Harden, EA; Telen, MJ; Hemler, ME; Strominger, JL; Palker, TJ; Scearce, RM; Eisenbarth, GS
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