Phenotype and TCR-γδ variable gene repertoire of intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes in wild mice (mus musculus domesticus): Abundance of Vγ1 transcripts and extensive δ gene diversity

R. Lee Mosley, Michael Whetsell, Donna Stickney, Lynne Whetsell, Frederick V. Schaefer, Kenton S. Miller, John R. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In order to study murine intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) independent of factors Imparted by conditions of laboratory housing and breeding, and to provide a basis for comparison of IEL studies between inbred and outbred mouse populations, IEL from the domestic house mouse, Mus musculus domesticus, were analyzed by flow cytometrlc analyses using mAbs to murlne lymphocyte markers, and by polymerase chain reaction to study the TCR γ and δ V gene repertoires. The majority of IEL in wild mice were CD3+ CD8+CD4- T cells. CD4+CD8- also were present in IEL Isolates from wild mice, although at low numbers. Among IEL, but not T cells from the spleen or lymph nodes, there was a notable lack of Thy-1 expression, a preponderance of CD8αα+ T cells, and a relatively high ratio (3:1) of TCRγδ T cells over TCRαδ+ T cells, suggesting that some IEL in wild mice may develop via an extrathymlc pathway similar to that described for laboratory mice. Analyses of the IEL γ and δ variable genes revealed rearrangements of three of six V region γ genes (Vγ1, Vγ2, and Vγ5), with an abundance of Vγ1 transcripts as determined by Northern blot analyses. For the δ gene, rearrangement of five of seven V region elements had occurred (Vδ2, Vδ3, Vδ4, Vδ5, and Vδ6). Sequence analyses of V-J and V-D-J junctional regions of cloned IEL γ and δ genes revealea that at both the gene level and the protein level there was substantially more diversity for δ than γ components of the IEL γδ heterodlmer, Indicating a potential for interactions with polymorphic structures by the δ chain. This study provides the first analyses of IEL in mice independent of laboratory housing, breeding, and feeding, and demonstrates that overall IEL in laboratory mice reflect what has been described for laboratory animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-238
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Epithelial lymphocytes
  • Flow cytometry
  • Junctional-site sequence analyses
  • Northern blot analyses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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