The human T cell receptor (TCR) γ polypeptide occurs in structurally distinct forms on certain peripheral blood T lymphocytes. Complementary DNA clones representing the transcripts of functionally rearranged TCR γ genes in these cells have been analyzed. The expression of a disulfide-linked and a nondisulfide-linked form of TCR γ correlates with the use of the Cγ1 and Cγ2 constant-region gene segments, respectively. Variability in TCR γ polypeptide size and disulfide linkage is determined by the number of copies and the sequence of a repeated segment of the constant region. Thus, Cγ1 and Cγ2 are used to generate structurally distinct, yet functional, T3-associated receptor complexes on peripheral blood lymphocytes. Tryptic peptide mapping suggests that the T3-associated TCR γ and δ peptides in the nondisulfide-linked form are distinct.
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