Expression of the thymus leukemia antigen in mouse intestinal epithelium

Robert Hershberg, Pirooz Eghtesady, Beate Sydora, Kurt Brorson, Hilde Cheroutre, Robert Modlin, Mitchell Kronenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


The Qa and Tla regions of the mouse major histocopatibility complex contain a series of genes encoding proteins with structural similarity to the class I transplantation antigens of the same complex. In contrast to the genes encoding the transplantation antigens, the Qa and Tla genes show very little polymorphism. Function(s) of the proteins encoded by the Qa and Tla loci remain an enigma. Recently, the protein products of the Qa and Tla loci, often referred to as class Ib major histocompatibility complex molecules, have been proposed to present antigen to γδ T cells. In mice, γδ T cells have been found concentrated in several epithelial barriers and in the skin; yet, expression of serologically detectable Tla antigens is believed restricted to thymocytes, activated T lymphocytes, and some T-cell leukemias. Here we report that luminal epithelial cells of the mouse small intestine express the thymus leukemia antigen (TLA). We also find that, unlike T cells in Peyer's patches, a significant fraction of intestinal epithelial lymphocytes also express TLA. RNA prepared from intestinal cell contains transcripts of the T18d gene, which encodes TLA. These data extend the known expression profile of TLA molecules to mature lymphocytes and to nonhematopoietic cells. These data also demonstrate the specific expression of TLA on antigen-presenting cells in a site enriched for T cells that express γδ T-cell antigen receptor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9727-9731
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
StatePublished - 1990


  • Class Ib molecules
  • Major histocompatibility complex
  • Mucosal immunology


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