B-Cells - Why one specificity?

Mike Clark mrc7 at cam.ac.uk
Thu Dec 11 10:43:58 EST 1997

In article <66n7ck$bop at maze.dpo.uab.edu>, D. Levy
<URL:mailto:levy at uab.edu> wrote:
> In article <ant1014250b0Pk=+ at mrc7acorn1.path.cam.ac.uk>
> Mike Clark <mrc7 at cam.ac.uk> writes:
> > Others in this thread have argued the case for autoimmunity being
> > triggered easily if you have two or more receptors but many T-cells
> > fall into this category.....
> Could you amplify this?  Thanks.
> David N. Levy, Ph.D.

Sure David,
I'm not a T-cell immunologist but my understanding is that many people have
shown a small but significant number of peripheral T-cells which double
stain with reagents specific for different V-alpha families. It also seems
that the same is not true for V-beta. Hence some T-cells seem to express 1
beta chain and two alpha chains ie two possible T-cell receptors.

In discussion with my colleagues I understand that the problem is that it
is not easy to estimate the exact proportion of all T-cells which are
double positive. Essentially because there are many V-alpha families the
proportion of cells which express any two  is small and hence people then
try to estimate the probabilities of all the other combinations of chains.
This comes up with some estimates being as high as 10% of T-cells although
this is probably too high an estimate.

Mike Clark,                        <URL:http://www.path.cam.ac.uk/~mrc7/>
 o/ \\    //            ||  ,_ o   M.R. Clark, PhD. Division of Immunology
<\__,\\  //   __o       || /  /\,  Cambridge University, Dept. Pathology
 ">    ||   _`\<,_    //  \\ \> |  Tennis Court Rd., Cambridge CB2 1QP
  `    ||  (_)/ (_)  //    \\ \_   Tel.+44 1223 333705  Fax.+44 1223 333875

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