gamma/delta T cells with different TCR repertoires are compartmentalized in different epithelia. This raises the possibility that the TCR-gamma/delta directs homing of T cells to these epithelia. Alternatively, the signals that induce TCR-gamma/delta expression in developing T cells may also induce homing properties in such cells, presumably in the form of cell surface receptors. We have examined this issue by studying the homing of gamma/delta T cells in transgenic mice constructed with specific pairs of rearranged gamma and delta genes. In such mice, most gamma/delta T cells express the transgene-encoded TCR. We find that homing to both skin and gut epithelia is a property of T cells and is not determined by the type of gamma and delta genes used to encode their TCR. We also studied the effect of TCR replacement on the expression of Thy-1 and CD8 proteins on the gamma/delta T cells associated with gut epithelia. Our results show that the expression of the appropriate type of TCR-gamma/delta is not required for the Thy-1 expression by these T cells, suggesting that Thy-1 is not an activation marker. In contrast, CD8 expression by gut gamma/delta T cells seems to depend on the expression of the appropriate type of TCR.

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