We describe a new rat immunoglobulin M monoclonal antibody (CH-F42) that recognizes a subset (1.5% to 8%) of normal peripheral blood T lymphocytes. The phenotype of these cells was determined, using dual- color immunofluorescence, to be CD2+, CD3+, CD4+, CD5+, CD7-, CD8-. They do not express T-cell activation markers, and are positive for UCHL1 (CD45RO), but negative for 2H4 (CD45RA). The antigen was expressed on circulating malignant cells in Sezary syndrome (four of four cases) and adult T-cell lymphoma-leukemia (ATLL) (four of six cases) and negative in a variety of other hematologic malignancies tested. These included chronic and acute lymphoid leukemias of B and T lineage, together with chronic and acute myeloid leukemias. However, normal CH-F42+ cells do not display any of the ultrastructural features associated with Sezary or ATLL cells. The marked similarities between these conditions together with the shared expression of an otherwise very restricted surface antigen (CH-F42) provide strong evidence for the existence of a common normal counterpart. Preliminary characterization studies of the antigen, which is also expressed by K562 and Jurkat cells, suggest the CH-F42 antigen is an O-linked, sialated glycan on a glycoprotein.

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