The MRC OX-44 molecule, which is expressed on all peripheral leukocytes, identifies the subset of thymocytes capable of proliferating in response to alloantigens and lectins (Paterson, D.J., J.R. Green, W.A. Jefferies, M. Puklavec, and A.F. Williams. 1987. J. Exp. Med. 165:1). When we isolated monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) on the basis of their ability to activate the phosphatidylinositol signaling pathway in RNK-16 cells (a rat leukemia line with natural killer activity), three of the resulting mAbs recognized the OX-44 molecule. Addition of these mAbs to RNK-16 elicits protein tyrosine phosphorylation, generates inositol phosphates, and increases the concentration of cytoplasmic free calcium. These responses require the addition of intact mAb and are not observed with F(ab')2 fragments. One of these mAbs (7D2) is mitogenic for freshly isolated rat splenic T cells and synergizes with a mAb to the T cell antigen receptor in this activation. A 50-60-kD glycoprotein coprecipitates with the OX-44 molecule from RNK-16 cells and rat splenic T cells. Peptide mapping and reprecipitation studies indicate that the coprecipitating molecule is CD2. Thus, the OX-44 molecule can couple to multiple signaling pathways and associates with CD2 on both RNK-16 and rat T cells.

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