T-cell receptor-CD4 physical association in a murine T-cell hybridoma: Induction by antigen receptor ligation

R. S. Mittler, S. J. Goldman, G. L. Spitalny, S. J. Burakoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


By employing flow cytometric analysis and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), we examined the physical relationship between the T-cell receptor-CD3 complex (Ti-CD3) and the CD4 molecule on helper T cells. Through the use of an L3T4-negative murine T-cell hybridoma infectant expressing the human CD4 gene and having antigen specificity for HLA-DR, we show that binding of the Ti-CD3 complex with an anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody induces its redistribution proximal to cell-surface CD4. FRET efficiency was 9.4% on cells labeled with rhodaminated anti-CD3 and fluoresceinated anti-CD4. FRET was found to be temperature dependent, since similarly treated cells held at 4°C displayed a FRET efficiency of <1%. Energy transfer was evident within 3 min after warming cells to 37°C. Energy transfer was not detected between Ti-CD3 and the abundantly expresssed leukocyte common antigen (CD45). Of greater significance was our observation that hybridomas infected with a truncated CD4 gene lacking the cytoplasmic domain failed to transfer energy despite the fact that CD4 was expressed on the cell surface at levels equivalent to or greater than the wild type. These studies suggest that after crosslinking of the Ti-CD3 on CD4+ T cells, a physical association occurs between the antigen receptor complex and CD4 and that the association is dependent upon the presence of the cytoplasmic domain of CD4.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8531-8535
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


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