Mice lacking MHC class II molecules

Dominic Cosgrove, David Gray, Andrée Dierich, Jim Kaufman, Marianne Lemeur, Christophe Benoist, Diane Mathis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

784 Scopus citations


We have produced mice that lack major histocompatibility complex class II antigens, permitting us to evaluate the role of these molecules in diverse aspects of T and B cell differentiation. The mutant mice show near-complete elimination of CD4+ T lymphocytes from the spleen and lymph nodes; the few remaining CD4-positive cells are preferentially localized to B cell follicles. Surprisingly, substantial numbers of CD4 singlepositive cells reside in the thymus; however, these are not mature thymocytes as we currently recognize them. B lymphocytes occur in normal numbers and are capable of terminal differentiation to plasma cells. Nevertheless, several aberrations in the B cell compartment are demonstrable: a lack of germinal centers, fewer IgM+IgD+ cells in certain individuals, reduced production of serum IgG1, and complete inability to respond to T-dependent antigens. In short, the class IIlnegative mice have confirmed some old ideas about lymphocyte differentiation, but have provided some surprises.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1051-1066
Number of pages16
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 6 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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