We have investigated the diversity and repertoire of human TCR delta chain variable gene segments in the human peripheral blood CD4- CD8- (double-negative) population, using rearrangement and expression studies and sequence analyses. 20 TCR delta DNA clones were derived from the RNA of bulk-cultured double-negative T cells and their nucleotide sequences determined. These clones can be classified into six different V delta subfamilies. The distribution, however, was uneven in these cells, with 16 of 20 being derived from the V delta 1 (9) and V delta 2 (7) subfamilies. The remaining subfamilies, V delta 3, V delta 4, V delta 5, and V delta 6, were only represented by one clone each. The majority of these subfamilies seem to consist of a single member, in contrast with the closely linked V alpha subfamilies, which, in most cases, consist of multiple members. Our findings suggest that only a limited number of V delta genes are used in human peripheral blood double-negative T cells and that two major V delta subfamilies (V delta 1 and V delta 2) are used more frequently. Sequence comparison of our cDNA clones to V alpha clones indicates that there is no overlap in usage of V alpha and V delta gene segments, except for the V delta 4 (V alpha 6) subfamily. Comparison of the different V delta sequences suggests that the majority of the sequence diversity is concentrated in the junctions between V, D, and J segments and results from extensive N region diversity.

This content is only available as a PDF.