The MRC OX-34 antigen of rat T lymphocytes was purified and peptide sequences were obtained. Oligonucleotide probes were synthesized and cDNA clones coding for the antigen were isolated and sequenced to yield a predicted protein sequence for the molecule that fitted the peptide data. Comparison of this sequence with that for human CD2 determined by Sewell et al. showed that OX-34 is rat CD2. The primary structure of the molecule was notable for a moderately large cytoplasmic domain of unusual sequence and also for its highly significant relationship to CD4 antigen in the membrane proximal extracellular region and the transmembrane sequence. A relationship to the Ig superfamily can be argued for the two extra cellular domains of CD2, even though neither fits the standard pattern for Ig-related domains. Within the T lymphocyte lineage, rat CD2 seemed to be present on all stages with the exception of approximately 50% of the thymic CD4-,CD8- cells. In addition, the antigen was prominent on most macrophages in the spleen but not found on peritoneal or liver macrophages. CD4 antigen is also expressed on T lymphocytes and macrophages, and thus CD2 and CD4 appear similar in their cellular expression as well as structural characteristics.

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