CD8+ T cells taken directly from mice expressing a Kb-specific T cell receptor (TCR) transgene expressed the transgenic TCR in a bimodal profile as detected by flow cytometric analysis using a clonotype-specific monoclonal antibody. Those cells expressing the lower density of the transgenic TCR expressed the transgenic beta chain and two different alpha chains on their surface. One alpha chain was the product of the alpha transgene, whereas the other was derived by endogenous rearrangement. This report provides the first demonstration that T cells isolated directly from mice may express two different TCR clonotypes on their surface. The potential consequences of this finding for studies using TCR transgenic mice and for the induction of autoimmunity are discussed.

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