T cell receptor (tcr)-induced death of immature cd4(+)cd8(+) thymocytes by two distinct mechanisms differing in their requirement for cd28 costimulation: Implications for negative selection in the thymus
Negative selection is the process by which the developing lymphocyte receptor repertoire rids itself of autoreactive specificities. One mechanism of negative selection in developing T cells is the induction of apoptosis in immature CD4+CD8+ (DP) thymocytes, referred to as clonal deletion. Clonal deletion is necessarily T cell receptor (TCR) specific, but TCR signals alone are not lethal to purified DP thymocytes. Here, we identify two distinct mechanisms by which TCR-specific death of DP thymocytes can be induced. One mechanism requires simultaneous TCR and costimulatory signals initiated by CD28. The other mechanism is initiated by TCR signals in the absence of simultaneous costimulatory signals and is mediated by subsequent interaction with antigen-presenting cells. We propose that these mechanisms represent two distinct clonal deletion strategies that are differentially implemented during development depending on whether immature thymocytes encounter antigen in the thymic cortex or thymic medulla.