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Anchor polymerase chain reaction has been applied to the study of human T cell receptor beta chain repertoire in peripheral blood. The use of this technique has demonstrated that considerable variation in V beta and J beta usage exists, both within and between individuals. Particular V beta families, including V beta 6, V beta 4 and V beta 12 are commonly utilized, while families such as V beta 10, V beta 11 and V beta 15 are rare in all individuals studied. Marked interindividual variation in V beta usage was detected for V beta 12 and V beta 4. Biased usage of J beta elements is a prominent feature of peripheral repertoire, while there is no evidence for preferential V beta-J beta recombination events. Biased J beta usage in expressed V beta-D beta-J beta-C beta transcripts, subject to selection, was the same as that in aberrant, unselected D beta-J beta-C beta transcripts, implying that bias resulted from events relating to rearrangement itself, in the absence of selection. N-region diversity showed some evidence for preferential insertion of deoxyguanosine, consistent with the action of terminal deoxytransferase. No P-nucleotide incorporation was seen in association with intact J beta elements. These data provide evidence of some of the variation in human T cell receptor beta chain repertoire and provide a basis for comparisons with sequences which may be obtained in autoimmune and superantigen-mediated diseases.

Original publication




Journal article


European journal of immunology

Publication Date





541 - 549


Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, Great Britain.


Humans, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta, DNA, Oligodeoxyribonucleotides, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Gene Rearrangement, beta-Chain T-Cell Antigen Receptor, Gene Expression, Amino Acid Sequence, Base Sequence, Molecular Sequence Data