Rearrangement of two distinct T-cell gamma-chain variable-region genes in human DNA.
Lefranc MP., Forster A., Rabbitts TH.
Selective cloning procedures for T-cell-specific complementary DNAs have revealed the existence of a gene designated gamma as well as the main antigen receptor alpha- and beta-chain genes. The gamma-chain genes undergo rearrangement during T-cell differentiation but the patterns and complexity of such rearrangements differ markedly in mouse and human. In mouse, a panel of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte clones exhibit the same rearrangement pattern with a gamma-chain gene probe and a set of three gamma-chain variable (V) genes have been identified in the DNA. Clonal diversity in mouse seems to be confined to V-J (joining) regions. In contrast, human T-cell lines exhibit diverse rearrangements suggestive of a family of differing V gamma genes variously rearranging to the two gamma-chain constant (C) region genes. Here we report the cloning of two very different V gamma genes rearranged to J segments upstream of the two human C gamma genes. Both V gamma genes are rearranged productively but nucleotide sequence comparison shows that they possess very little homology with each other. This shows that human T-cell V gamma genes exist which differ significantly from each other at the nucleotide level and that such diverse genes can be usefully rearranged in different T cells.