The T cell receptor for antigen (Ti) has recently been identified as a 90-kdalton T3-associated clonotypic structure composed of one 49-51-kdalton alpha and one 43-kdalton beta subunit, which are disulfide linked. Here, Ti molecules from two alloreactive CTL clones derived from the same donor but of differing specificities (CT8III and CT4II) are directly compared following isolation with anticlonotypic monoclonal antibodies. Isoelectric focusing shows that the alpha subunits (pI 4.4-4.7) are more acidic than the beta subunits (pI 6.0-6.2) but that each glycoprotein species is distinctive. More importantly, two-dimensional peptide maps of 125I-labeled surface receptors indicate that the beta chains of Ti1 and Ti2 appear unique and share only two peptides in common. In contrast, peptide maps of Ti1 and Ti2 alpha chains are more related although not identical. These results suggest that the human T cell receptor is composed of constant as well as variable regions and that at least one of the latter is located within the beta subunit.

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