The mesenchyme expresses T cell receptor mRNAs: Relevance to cell growth control

Mira Barda-Saad, Yaron Shav-Tal, Arie Leon Rozenszajn, Michal Cohen, Ayelet Zauberman, Asaf Karmazyn, Reshmi Parameswaran, Hadas Schori, Hagit Ashush, Avraham Ben-Nun, Dov Zipori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The mesenchyme plays a crucial regulatory role in organ formation and maintenance. However, comprehensive molecular characterization of these cells is lacking. We found unexpectedly that primary mesenchyme, as well as mesenchymal cell clones, express T cell receptor (TCR)αβ mRNAs, lacking the variable region. Immunological and genetic evidence support the expression of a corresponding TCRβ protein. Additionally, mRNAs encoding TCR complex components including CD3 and ζ chain are present. A relatively higher expression of the mesenchymal TCRβ mRNA by cultured mesenchymal cell clones correlates with fast growth, whereas poorly expressing cells are slow growers and are contact inhibited. The clones that express relatively higher amount of the TCR mRNA exhibit an increased capacity to form tumors in nude mice. However, the expression of this mRNA in the mesenchyme is not per se leading to tumorigenesis, as demonstrated by primary mesenchyme that does not form tumors in mice while expressing moderate amounts of the TCR transcripts. The expression of mesencymal TCRβ was confined to the G2/M phases of the cell cycle in the MBA-13 mesenchymal cell line. This cell cycle dependent expression, considered together with the correlation between growth properties and the level of TCR expression by cell clones, implies association of mesenchymal TCR with cell growth control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2029-2036
Number of pages8
Issue number13
StatePublished - 27 Mar 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell growth
  • Mesenchyme
  • Stroma
  • TCR
  • Tumors


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