Competition for self ligands restrains homeostatic proliferation of naive CD4 T cells

Christina T. Moses, Kristen M. Thorstenson, Stephen C. Jamesont, Alexander Khoruts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


T cell antigen receptor (TCR) diversity is a critical feature of adaptive immunity. However, restriction of TCR diversity is a potential risk during immune reconstitution by homeostatic proliferation. What peripheral mechanisms are in place to maintain TCR diversity during recovery from lymphopenia? Here, we examine competition between several monoclonal CD4 T cell populations in RAG-/- and TCR Tg RAG-/- environments. The results suggest that specific self ligands constitute a critical limiting resource essential for homeostatic proliferation of naive CD4 T cells. In addition, T cells ignore large numbers of competitors as long as their TCR specificity is different and other non-MHC resources are not limiting. Therefore, the numbers of self ligands expressed in the periphery set the limits on TCR diversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1185-1190
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 4 2003


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