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Antigen engagement of the TCR may lead to activation of mature T cells while inducing deletion or positive selection of immature thymocytes. Using thymocytes from TCR transgenic mice recognizing the allo-antigen H-2Kb we investigated whether double-positive CD4+CD8+ (DP) thymocytes constitute a particular developmental stage where signals originating from surface receptor engagement will lead to distinct nuclear signaling. We show that the developmental control of transcription factors is apparent, at least at two levels. First, NF-AT binding activity was not induced in response to either antigen or phorbol myristate acetate (PMA)/lonomycin in DP thymocytes, whereas it was induced in single-positive CD8 thymocytes. Second, antigen induced a different pattern of transcription factor binding activities than PMA/lonomycin in DP thymocytes, AP-1 activity being selectively induced by antigen and NF-kappa B by PMA/lonomycin. Further we show that the transcription factors found to be induced in the DP thymic population were not susceptible to the inhibitory effect of cyclosporin A.

Original publication




Journal article


International immunology

Publication Date





1421 - 1428


Centre d'Immunologie INSERM-CNRS de Marseille Luminy, Parc Scientifique de Luminy, France.


Thymus Gland, T-Lymphocyte Subsets, Animals, Mice, Inbred CBA, Mice, Transgenic, Mice, Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate, Cyclosporine, Ionomycin, DNA-Binding Proteins, NF-kappa B, Nuclear Proteins, Transcription Factors, Transcription Factor AP-1, DNA, H-2 Antigens, Immunophenotyping, Transcription, Genetic, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Protein Binding, NFATC Transcription Factors