Degenerate TCR recognition and dual DR2 restriction of autoreactive T cells: implications for the initiation of the autoimmune response in multiple sclerosis.
TCR degeneracy may facilitate self-reactive T cell activation and the initiation of an autoimmune response in multiple sclerosis (MS). MHC class II alleles of the DR2 haplotype DR2a (DRB5*0101) and DR2b (DRB1*1501) are associated with an increased risk for MS in Caucasian populations. In order to selectively expand and characterize T cells with a high degree of TCR degeneracy that recognize peptides in the context of disease-associated DR2 alleles, we developed DR2-anchored peptide mixtures (APM). We report here that DR2-APM have a high stimulatory potency and can selectively expand T cells with a degenerate TCR (TCR(deg)). Due to the low concentration of individual peptides in the mixtures, T cell clones' proliferative response to DR2-APM implies that multiple peptides stimulate the TCR, which is a characteristic of TCR(deg). The frequency of DR2-APM-reactive T cells is significantly higher in MS patients than in healthy controls, suggesting that they may play a role in the development of the autoimmune response in MS. DR2-APM-reactive cells have a dual DR2 restriction: they recognize DR2-APM in the context of both DR2a and DR2b molecules. The DR2-APM-reactive cells' IL-17 secretion, together with cross-reactivity against myelin peptides, may contribute to their role in the development of autoimmune response in MS.
Zhang, X; Tang, Y; Sujkowska, D; Wang, J; Ramgolam, V; Sospedra, M; Adams, J; Martin, R; Pinilla, C; Markovic-Plese, S
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