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In human T lymphocytes the antigen receptor (Ti) is associated non-covalently on the cell surface with the invariant T3 antigen which comprises 3 chains: two glycosylated polypeptides of relative molecular mass 26,000 (Mr 26K) and 21K (gamma and delta) and one non-N-glycosylated polypeptide of Mr 19K (epsilon). The proposed function of T3 is to transduce the activation signals delivered via the antigen receptor. Recently we have shown that phorbol esters, which stimulate protein kinase C, can induce phosphorylation of the gamma subunit of the T3 antigen. But the critical question is whether T3 phosphorylation occurs as a normal consequence of immune activation of T lymphocytes. In this respect, it has been shown that immune stimulation of murine T cells results in phosphorylation of Ti-associated polypeptides that may be the functional analogues of the human T3 antigen. We have therefore monitored T3 phosphorylation after exposure of human T cells to antigen or phytohaemagglutinin (PHA). The data show that both stimuli initiate phosphorylation of the gamma subunit of the T3 antigen which indicates that T3 phosphorylation is a physiological response to immune activation.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





540 - 542


Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte, Antigens, Surface, Antigens, Viral, Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus, Hemagglutinins, Viral, Humans, Influenza A virus, Lymphocyte Activation, Phosphorylation, Phytohemagglutinins, Protein Kinase C, T-Lymphocytes