The αβ and γδ T cell receptors for antigen (TCR) delineate distinct T cell populations. TCRαβ-bearing thymocytes must be positively selected by binding of the TCR to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules on thymic epithelium. To examine the reqiurements for positive selection of TCR γδ T cells, mice bearing a class I MHC-specific γδ transgene (Tg) were crossed to mice with disrupted β2 microglobulin (β2M) genes. The Tg+β2M- (class I MHC-) offspring had Tg+ thymocytes that did not proliferate to antigen or Tg-specific monoclonal antibody and few peripheral did not proliferate to antigen or Tg-specific monoclonal antibody and few peripheral Tg+ cells. This is evidence for positive selection within the γδ T cell subset.
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