We describe two mouse mAb recognizing the putative chicken homologue of mammalian CD2 Ag and provide evidence for both structural and functional conservation between the avian and mammalian CD2 molecules. The antibodies were T cell-specific and immunoprecipitated a single diffuse band of Mr 40,000 from lysates of surface-labeled chicken thymocytes and peripheral T cells. Removal of N-linked carbohydrate with endo-beta-N-acetylglucosaminidase F revealed the core protein size of Mr 25,000. A rabbit antiserum raised against a synthetic peptide (CD2-300), composed of 18 amino acid residues of the conserved cytoplasmic domain of human, mouse, and rat CD2, precipitated an Ag similar to chicken CD2. Sequential precipitation with CD2-300 antiserum indicated the conservation of an avian and mammalian CD2 epitope. CD2 expression on thymocytes starts at day 11 of embryonic development, and, during subsequent development, thymic gamma delta cells are all CD2+, whereas most peripheral gamma delta-T cells lack CD2. Functional conservation between the chicken and mammalian CD2 molecules was demonstrated by the induction of DNA synthesis in chicken thymocytes and peripheral T cells with the combination of anti-CD2 mAb and PMA.

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