Several studies have demonstrated the existence of a murine NK1.1+ αβ T cell subset expressing Vα14+ TCR α-chains with highly conserved invariant junctional sequences and able to secrete Th2 cytokines when exposed to CD1+ stimulator cells. In humans, α/β T cells carrying invariant Vα24+ TCR α-chains highly homologous to those expressed by murine NK1.1 cells have been recently described. Here we show that these cells (referred to as Vα24inv T cells) and murine NK1.1+ αβ T cells resemble each other in several ways. First, like their murine counterparts, T cells expressing high levels of Vα24inv TCRs can be either CD4-CD8- double negative (DN) or CD4+, but they never express heterodimeric CD8 molecules. Second, most Vα24inv T cells are brightly stained by NKRP1-specific mAb but not by mAb directed against other type II transmembrane proteins of the NK complex. Third, DN and particularly CD4+ Vα24inv T cells are greatly enriched for IL-4 producers. The concomitant expression of highly conserved TCRs of a particular set of NK markers and of Th2 cytokines in human and murine αβ T cells suggests a coordinate acquisition of these phenotypic and functional properties. Furthermore, the relatively high frequency of human Vα24inv T cells, which are presently shown to represent on average 1/500 PBL, and the high interindividual variations of the size of this cell subset under physiologic conditions go for a major role played by αβ T cells carrying invariant TCR in a large array of immune responses.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 15 1997|
ASJC Scopus subject areas