Background Naive T cell

T cell receptor (TCR) diversity is generated by rearrangement of the variable, joining, and diversity gene segments. The TCR then associates with CD3 to complete the TCR complex. γδ T cells (gamma delta T cells) are a small subset of T cells that express a unique TCR. While most T cell express a TCR composed of α and β glycoprotein chains, γδ T cells display one γ chain and one δ chain. γδ T cells are less common compared to αβ T cells but are abundant in the gut mucosa. They are also found in the thymus, peripheral lymphoid tissue, and peritoneum. Unlike αβ T cells, γδ T cells do not require antigen processing in order to recognize certain bacterial, lipid, and tumor antigens bound to MHC Class IB.

While the precise role of γδ T cells is unclear, they are known to contribute to both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system. The rearrangement of TCR genes produces junctional diversity, allowing them to develop a memory phenotype. On the other hand, their TCR can be used as a pattern recognition receptor, responding to microbial stimulation within hours. Recent work has shown γδ T cells are capable of phagocytosis and antigen presentation.


Several TCR γ and δ chains were discovered and various nomenclature systems have been used. The early nomenclature designated genes by their order of discovery, while subsequent systems began to group genes based on homology and superfamily structure. As a result, several naming systems exist, resulting in confusion regarding equivalent names for different systems. In order to consolidate the various nomenclature systems, we have created charts for corresponding names across some of the most popular naming methods.


Human TCR γ and δ

IMGT Lefranc/Foster1 Strauss, Quertermous2 WHO-IUIS3, 4
TRGV1 Vγ1 Vγ1.1 pseudogene TCRGV1S1P
TRGV2 Vγ2 Vγ1.2 TCRGV1S2
TRGV3 Vγ3 Vγ1.3 TCRGV1S3
TRGV4 Vγ4 Vγ1.4 TCRGV1S4
TRGV5 Vγ5 Vγ1.5 TCRGV1S5
TRGV5P Vγ5p Vγ1.5 pseudogene TCRGV1S5P
TRGV6 Vγ6p Vγ1.6 pseudogene TCRGV1S6P
TRGV7 Vγ7p Vγ1.7 pseudogene TCRGV1S7P
TRGV8 Vγ8 Vγ1.8 TCRGV1S8
TRGVA VγA VA pseudogene TCRGV5S1P
TRGVB VγB VB pseudogene TCRGV6S1P



IMGT Satayanarana, et al.5 WHO-IUIS3, 4  
TRDV1 Vδ1 TCRDV101S1  
TRDV2 Vδ2 TCRDV102S1  
TRDV3 Vδ3 TCRDV103S1  



1Lefranc et al. 1986. Cell 45:237.
2Strauss & Quertermous et al. 1987. Science 237:1217.
3WHO-IUIS Nomenclature Subcommittee for immunoglobulins and T cell receptors report. 2007. Dev. Comp. Immunol. 32: 461.
4Arden, B. et al. 1995. Immunogenetics 42:455.
5Satyanarayana et al. 1988. Proc. Natl. Acad. USA. 85: 8166.


Mouse TCR γ and δ

IMGT Garman1 Heilig & Tonegawa2 Arden3
TRGV1 Vγ1.1 Vγ1 GV5S1
TRGV2 Vγ1.2 Vγ2 GV5S2
TRGV3 Vγ1.3 Vγ3 GV5S3
TRGV4 Vγ2 Vγ4 GV3S1
TRGV5 Vγ3 Vγ5 GV1S1
TRGV6 Vγ4 Vγ6 GV2S1
TRGV7 Vγ5 Vγ7 GV4S1



IMGT Elliott4 Arden3  
TRDV1 Vδ2 DV102S1  
TRDV2-1 --- ---  
TRDV2-2 Vδ4 DV104S1  
TRDV3 --- ---  
TRDV4 Vδ1 DV101S1  
TRDV5 Vδ5 DV105S1  



1Garman, R.D., et al. 1986. Cell 45: 733.
2Heilig, J.S. and Tonegawa, S., et al. 1986. Nature 322: 836.
3Arden, B. et al. 1995. Immunogenetics 42:455.
4Elliott, J.F., et al. 1988. Nature 331:627.



*Special thanks to Dr. Wendy Havran, Dr. Willi Born, and Dr. Rebecca O’ Brien for their contributions to this page.



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