Ataxia telangiectasia (A-T), a genetic disorder caused by the homozygous mutation of the ATM gene, frequently associates with variable degrees of cellular and humoral immunodeficiency. However, the immune defects occurring in patients with A-T are still poorly characterized. Here we show that the T-cell receptor (TCR) variable β (BV)-chain repertoire of 9 A-T patients was restricted by diffuse expansions of some variable genes prevalently occurring within the CD4 subset and clustering to certain TCRBV genes (eg, 5.1, 11, 14, and 23). In addition, the study of the third complementarity-determining region (CDR3) showed, in all patients, significantly altered profiles in most BV genes examined suggesting diffuse oligoclonal expansions. The sequencing of TCR CDR3 regions revealed completely normal V(D)J coding joints and confirmed a reduced diversity of the antigen-receptor repertoire. The B-cell repertoire was similarly restricted and skewed by diffuse oligoclonal expansions with normal V(D)J joints. Thymic output, evaluated by measuring TCR rearrangement excision circles, was extremely low. The majority of peripheral T cells had the phenotype and the function of effector memory cells, indicating that in vivo they are able to respond normally by terminal differentiation to antigenic stimulation. These results indicate that ATM mutation limits the generation of a wide repertoire of normally functioning T and B cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas