Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Upon engagement of the T cell receptor for antigen, its associated CD3 proteins recruit signal transduction molecules, which in turn regulate T lymphocyte proliferation, apoptosis, and thymocyte development. Because some signal transducing molecules recruited by CD3-epsilon, i.e., p56lck and p59fyn, are oncogenic and since we previously found that overexpression of CD3-epsilon transgenes causes a block in T lymphocyte and NK cell development, we tested the hypothesis that aberrant CD3-epsilon signaling leads both to abnormal T lymphocyte death and lymphomagenesis. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Ten independently derived transgenic mouse lines were generated with four different genomic CD3-epsilon constructs. Mice either homozygous or hemizygous for each transgene were analyzed for an arrest in T lymphocyte development and for the occurrence of T cell lymphomas. RESULTS: Aggressive clonal T cell lymphomas developed at very high frequencies in seven mouse lines with intermediate levels of copies of CD3-epsilon derived transgenes. However, these lymphomas were not found when high copy numbers of CD3-epsilon transgenes caused a complete block in early thymic development or when a transgene was used in which the exons coding for the CD3-epsilon protein were deleted. Analyses of a series of double mutant mice, tgCD3-epsilon x RAG-2null, indicated that lymphomagenesis was initiated in lineage-committed prothymocytes, i.e., before rearrangement of the T cell receptor genes. In addition, the transgene coding for the CD3-epsilon cytoplasmic domain and its transmembrane region induced a T cell differentiation signal in premalignant tgCD3-epsilon x RAG-2null mice. CONCLUSION: The nonenzymatic CD3-epsilon protein acted as a potent oncogene when overexpressed early in T lymphocyte development. Lymphomagenesis was dependent on signal transduction events initiated by the cytoplasmic domain of CD3-epsilon.


Journal article


Mol Med

Publication Date





72 - 81


Animals, CD3 Complex, Cell Death, Cytoplasm, DNA-Binding Proteins, Lymph Nodes, Lymphocyte Specific Protein Tyrosine Kinase p56(lck), Lymphoma, T-Cell, Mice, Mice, Transgenic, Oncogenes, Proteins, Signal Transduction, Spleen, T-Lymphocytes, Thymoma, Thymus Gland, src-Family Kinases