Receptor editing in developing T cells

Maureen A. McGargill, Jens M. Derbinski, Kristin A. Hogquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


A central tenet of T cell development postulates that if a developing thymocyte encounters self-antigen, it is induced to die via apoptosis, thereby protecting the organism from autoreactive T cells. We created transgenic mice that expressed a peptide antigen in the cortical epithelial cells of the thymus. This did not, however, result in deletion of specific T cells. Instead, antigen presentation by epithelial cells caused T cell receptor (TCR) internalization and increased gene rearrangement at the endogenous TCRα locus, or receptor editing. This editing mechanism in immature T cells parallels that which occurs in immature B cells, and has important implications for understanding positive and negative selection signaling in the thymus, and the limits of self-tolerance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-341
Number of pages6
JournalNature immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

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