Double-negative (CD4-/CD8-) T cells expressing the alpha/beta transgenic TCR from the 2C cell line (anti-H-2Ld) were examined in the periphery of animals whose MHC type produces positive, negative, or no selection for differentiation of the TCR on single positive (CD8+) cells. Regardless of the selection haplotype the CD4-/CD8- cells are capable of activation by anticlonotypic mAb indicating that negative selection does not inactivate the "forbidden" TCR. Rather, the lack of response to H-2Ld in the negative haplotype is likely to absence of CD8 required to produce a functional response to H-2Ld. The similarity of surface phenotype and functional activity of these CD4-/CD8- cells maturing in different haplotypes suggests they may arise by an alternative lineage which, unlike the dominant TCR alpha/beta pathway, does not require coexpression of CD4/CD8.

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