Two mAbs directed to the TCR-gamma/delta were analyzed for their pattern of reactivity with CD3+WT31- cell populations or clones. In normal individuals, the BB3 mAb reacted with approximately 2/3 of peripheral blood CD3+WT31- lymphocytes, whereas delta-TCS-1 stained approximately 1/3 of such cells. In addition, the sum of the percentages of BB3+ and delta-TCS-1+ cells approximated the percentages of peripheral blood CD3+WT31- lymphocytes in seven normal donors tested. Also, in peripheral blood-derived polyclonal CD3+WT31- populations, cultured in IL-2, cells reacting with one or another mAb accounted for the whole cell population. On the other hand, only delta-TCS-1-reactive cells, but not BB3+ cells, could be detected in unfractionated as well as in CD4-8-thymocyte populations. Analysis of peripheral blood-derived CD3+WT31- clones showed that 70% of 72 clones analyzed reacted with BB3 mAb, but not with delta-TCS-1 mAb. On the other hand, delta-TCS-1 mAb stained the remaining BB3- clones. Five clones expressing medium-low amounts of CD8 antigen were BB3- delta-TCS-1+. Both types of clones lysed the Fc gamma receptor-bearing P815 target cell in the presence of anti-CD3 mAb (but not of mAb directed against HLA-DR, CD7 molecules, or TCR-alpha/beta). In this cytolytic assay, BB3 mAb induced target cell lysis only by BB3+ clones, whereas delta-TCS-1 mAb was effective only with delta-TCS-1+ clones. The CD3-associated surface molecules expressed by BB3+ or delta-TCS-1+ clones were analyzed after cell surface iodination and immunoprecipitation with the corresponding anti-TCR mAb or with anti-CD3 mAb (in digitonin-containing buffer). In SDS-PAGE, molecules immunoprecipitated from 13 BB3+ clones displayed, under nonreducing conditions, a molecular weight of 80 kD (in some cases, a minor 38-kD band could be detected). Under reducing conditions, two major components of 44 and 41 kD (and a minor component of 38 kD) were detected. On the other hand, TCR molecules immunoprecipitated from 11 different delta-TCS-1+ clones appeared as a diffuse band of 41-44 kD, both under reducing and nonreducing conditions (under non-reducing condition, an additional 38-kD band was present). Therefore, BB3+ cells express a disulphide-linked form of TCR-gamma/delta whereas delta-TCS-1+ cells express a non-disulphide-linked form.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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