The repertoire of T cell receptor (TCR) Vβ chain utilization was investigated in PL/J, CXJ-1, SJL/J and B10.S → SJL/J chimeric mice in response to either myelin basic protein (MBP) or the strain-specific encephalitogenic peptide. Our analysis showed that there was an overlapping predominance in the TCR Vβ gene utilization in the MBP-specific responses, which were independent of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II haplotype present, and the immunodominant peptide region recognized in these different strains. In those mice having the TCR Vβb haplotype (PL/J, CXJ-1, and the B10.S → SJL chimera) either the TCR Vβ 4, 8, and 13 or the TCR Vβ 4, 6, and 13 predominated. In contrast, in mice with TCR Vβa haplotype (SJL/J) Vβ 4, 6, and 17a were found. However, the quantitative distribution of these preferentially utilized TCR Vβ chains in each strain was defined by the MHC class II haplotype and the immunodominant peptide recognized. The expression of the Vβ8 gene product in the peripheral TCR repertoire did not always correlate with predominant Vβ8 utilization in the MBP-specific response.
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