We have examined the extent of allelic exclusion at the T cell receptor (TCR) beta locus using monoclonal antibodies specific for V beta products. A small proportion (approximately 1%) of human peripheral blood T cells express two V beta as determined by flow cytometric analysis, isolation of representative clones, and sequencing of the corresponding V beta chains. Dual beta T cells are present in both the CD45R0+ and CD45R0- subset. These results indicate that dual beta expression is compatible with both central and peripheral selection. They also suggest that the substantial degree of TCR beta allelic exclusion is dependent only on asynchronous rearrangements at the beta locus, whereas the role of the pre-TCR is limited to signaling the presence of at least one functional beta protein.

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