Expression of terminal transferase (TdT) is believed to be restricted to primitive lymphoid cells; recently, however, indirect immunofluorescent (IF) assays have been used to demonstrate the apparent presence of TdT in phytohemagglutinin (PHA)-stimulated peripheral blood lymphocytes and in various nonlymphoid malignancies. Using an IF assay, we found that a heteroantiserum to TdT reacted with cultured and PHA-stimulated human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, but we were unable to confirm the presence of TdT in these cells using immunoblotting and biochemical assays. We conclude that the IF results are spurious and most likely represent recognition by the heteroantiserum of inducible protein(s) other than TdT.

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