To determine whether the limited V gene usage by the T-cell receptor delta (TCRD) chain is dictated by preferential rearrangement or by antigen selection, we characterized and compared the TCRDV gene repertoire of the productive with that of the unprotective allele in 80 human TCRG/TCRD clones. Six different V genes were found on the expressed allele; two of them, provisionally named DV7 and DV8, have not been described before on the surface of TCRG/TCRD T cells. Overall, six V genes and six non- V elements were isolated from the unproductive allele. Interestingly, the same set of genes was rearranged both in the productive and in the unproductive chromosome. These findings seem to suggest that antigen-independent mechanisms play a major role in the restriction of the TCRDV gene repertoire.
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