A small percentage of circulating CD3+ cells express a heterodimeric gamma delta receptor. Most of these cells do not express the surface marker CD4 and only a fraction of them bear CD8 molecules. The specificity and function of TCR-gamma delta are unclear. We obtained a murine mAb produced against an IL-2-dependent human T cell clone defining a novel molecule sTA which is not expressed on resting human peripheral blood CD3+ cells but strongly expressed on a fraction of TCR-gamma delta-bearing clones. Like receptors for growth factors such as IL-2, the sTA Ag is present on clones and cell lines according on the cell cycle. SDS-PAGE analysis of sTA immunoprecipitates from 125I-labeled sTA+ clone lysate demonstrated a single band of molecular mass 110 kDa under reducing conditions. Triggering with anti-sTA mAb did not result in [Ca2+]i mobilization of sTA+ clones. Additionally, the presence of anti-sTA did not alter the cytotoxicity of these sTA+ clones neither against tumor target cells nor against specific PHA blast cells. Interestingly, due to the fact that most sTA+ clones fail to proliferate in response to CD3 triggering, it appears that sTA may serve as a useful marker to study the functional heterogeneity of TCR-gamma delta expressing cells.

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