Models for antigen receptor gene rearrangement. II. Multiple rearrangement in the TCR: Allelic exclusion or inclusion?

Hannah Piper, Samuel Litwin, Ramit Mehr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This series of papers addresses the effects of continuous Ag receptor gene rearrangement in lymphocytes on allelic exclusion. The previous paper discussed light chain gene rearrangement and receptor editing in B cells, and showed that these processes are ordered on three different levels. This order, combined with the constraints imposed by a strong negative selection, was shown to lead to effective allelic exclusion. In the present paper, we discuss rearrangement of TCR genes. In the TCR α-chain, allelic inclusion may be the rule rather than the exception. Several previous models, which attempted to explain experimental observations, such as the fractions of cells containing two productive TCRα rearrangements, did not sufficiently account for TCR gene organization, which limits secondary rearrangement, and for the effects of subsequent thymic selection. We present here a detailed, comprehensive computer simulation of TCR gene rearrangement, incorporating the interaction of this process with other aspects of lymphocyte development, including cell division, selection, cell death, and maturation. Our model shows how the observed fraction of T cells containing productive TCRα rearrangements on both alleles can be explained by the parameters of thymic selection imposed over a random rearrangement process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1799-1808
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 15 Aug 1999
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Institute of General Medical SciencesR37GM020964


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