Monoclonal antibody against human T cell leukemia virus p19 defines a human thymic epithelial antigen acquired during ontogeny.
Using monoclonal antibody 12/1-2 against a 19,000-dalton human T cell leukemia virus (HTLV) protein (anti-p19), previously demonstrated to be reactive with HTLV-infected human cells, but not in numerous other uninfected cells, we found a reactive antigen to be expressed on the neuroendocrine component of human thymic epithelial cells but not on any other normal epithelial or neuroendocrine human tissues. Moreover, this reactive antigen is acquired on neuroendocrine thymic epithelium during thymic ontogeny--first appearing on fetal thymic epithelial cells between 8 and 15 wk gestation. While only a portion of thymic epithelial cells in the subcapsular cortical region of 15- and 24-wk fetal thymuses contained anti-p19+ epithelial cells, the entire subcapsular cortical region of newborn thymus epithelium was anti-p19+. By age 3 yr, normal subjects' entire subcapsular cortical and medullary thymic epithelium was anti-p19+. Using antibody against HTLV core protein, p24, and c-DNA probes for HTLV DNA, neither HTLV-specific p24 protein nor proviral DNA could be demonstrated in anti-p19+ thymic epithelial tissue. However, thymic epithelial extracts, disrupted HTLV extracts, as well as purified HTLV p19 antigen all inhibited the binding of anti-p19 antibody to thymic epithelium. Thus, anti-p19 may recognize a determinant on an HTLV-encoded 19,000-dalton structural protein that is shared by human thymic epithelium. Alternatively, anti-p19 defines a host encoded protein that is selectively expressed by normal thymic epithelium, and is induced to be expressed in HTLV-infected malignant T cells.
Haynes, BF; Robert-Guroff, M; Metzgar, RS; Franchini, G; Kalyanaraman, VS; Palker, TJ; Gallo, RC
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