Mice having the lpr genetic defect bear an expanding lymphoid T-cell population with unusual cell surface characteristics. Using SDS-PAGE analysis, the T cells from lpr mice were shown to have two forms of the T-cell antigen receptor. A conventional (nonreduced) 90-kDa receptor and a lighter 70- to 85-kDa form were both detected. The 70- to 85-kDa antigen receptor was also shown to be present on lpr thymocytes. Only the normal 90-kDa receptor was found in MRL-++ mice. Treatment of the receptor with N-glycanase shows that the 70- to 85-kD form may be a product of abnormal glycosylation. The low-molecular-weight antigen receptor on lpr T cells is unusual and might contribute in some way to the disordered immunoregulation and autoimmunity that occur spontaneously in these mice.
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