Author(s): Usuku K, Joshi N, Hauser SL
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Abstract The genomic organization of the T-cell receptor (TCR) gene complexes accounts for many central aspects of T-cell immunobiology, including specificity and diversity. Recent data indicate that polymorphism of TCR genes is present within a species and may influence the immune phenotype of an individual. Such polymorphism has been detected by RFLP, by the presence of large regions of insertion or deletion of germline DNA, and by allelic variability of individual gene segments that are expressed. In addition to allelic variation of TCR genes, immune responses may also be influenced by the repertoire of the TCR molecules that are expressed by responding T-cell populations. In some situations, pathogenic T-cell responses may involve expression of limited numbers of TCR gene families. This is true, for example, in experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, an autoimmune nervous system disease mediated by T-cells reactive to myelin basic protein. In the human disease counterpart, multiple sclerosis, a more complex pattern of T-cell recognition to the putative autoantigen is generally present, although in some individuals a restricted response may occur. Specific therapies targeted to certain TCR molecules represents a promising approach to chronic inflammatory diseases in humans. The efficacy of such therapies will be determined in part by the TCR repertoire expressed in individual disease situations and by the potential for plasticity in the pathogenic T-cell response that may exist.
This article was published in Crit Rev Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Carcinogenesis & Mutagenesis