The human T-cell receptor

Oreste Acuto, Marina Fabbi, Armand Bensussan, Claudio Milanese, Thomas J. Campen, Hans Dieter Royer, Ellis L. Reinherz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent studies using cloned antigen-specific T lymphocytes and monoclonal antibodies directed at their various surface glycoprotein components have led to the identification of the human T-cell antigen receptor as a surface complex comprised of a clonotypic 90-kD Ti heterodimer and the invariant 20- and 25-kD T3 molecules. Approximately 30,000-40,000 Ti and T3 molecules exist on the surface of human T lymphocytes. These glycoproteins are acquired and expressed during late thymic ontogeny, thus providing the structural basis for immunologic competence. The α and β subunits of Ti bear no precursor-product relationship to one another and are encoded by separate genes. Moreover, the presence of unique peptides following proteolysis of different Ti molecules isolated by non-cross-reactive anticlonotypic monoclonal antibodies supports the notion that variable regions exist within both the α and the β subunits. N-Terminal amino acid sequencing and molecular cloning of the Ti β subunit further show that it bears an homology to the first V-region framework of immunoglobulin light chains and represents the product of a gene that rearranges specifically in T lymphocytes. Triggering of the T3-Ti receptor complex gives rise to specific antigen-induced proliferation through an autocrine pathway involving endogenous IL-2 production, release, and subsequent binding to IL-2 receptors. The implications of these findings for understanding human T-cell growth and its regulation in disease states are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-157
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1985


  • gene
  • T cell antigen receptor
  • T cell subset

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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