Structural and functional characterization of a single-chain peptide-MHC molecule that modulates both naive and activated CD8+ T cells.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 08/2011; 108(33):13682-7. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1110971108
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Peptide-MHC (pMHC) multimers, in addition to being tools for tracking and quantifying antigen-specific T cells, can mediate downstream signaling after T-cell receptor engagement. In the absence of costimulation, this can lead to anergy or apoptosis of cognate T cells, a property that could be exploited in the setting of autoimmune disease. Most studies with class I pMHC multimers used noncovalently linked peptides, which can allow unwanted CD8(+) T-cell activation as a result of peptide transfer to cellular MHC molecules. To circumvent this problem, and given the role of self-reactive CD8(+) T cells in the development of type 1 diabetes, we designed a single-chain pMHC complex (scK(d).IGRP) by using the class I MHC molecule H-2K(d) and a covalently linked peptide derived from islet-specific glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit-related protein (IGRP(206-214)), a well established autoantigen in NOD mice. X-ray diffraction studies revealed that the peptide is presented in the groove of the MHC molecule in canonical fashion, and it was also demonstrated that scK(d).IGRP tetramers bound specifically to cognate CD8(+) T cells. Tetramer binding induced death of naive T cells and in vitro- and in vivo-differentiated cytotoxic T lymphocytes, and tetramer-treated cytotoxic T lymphocytes showed a diminished IFN-γ response to antigen stimulation. Tetramer accessibility to disease-relevant T cells in vivo was also demonstrated. Our study suggests the potential of single-chain pMHC tetramers as possible therapeutic agents in autoimmune disease. Their ability to affect the fate of naive and activated CD8(+) T cells makes them a potential intervention strategy in early and late stages of disease.

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    ABSTRACT: CD8(+) T cells specific for islet-specific glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit-related protein (IGRP) have been implicated in type 1 diabetes in both humans and non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice, in which T cells specific for IGRP206-214 are highly prevalent. We sought to manipulate these pathogenic T cells by exploiting the ability of steady-state dendritic cells (DCs) to present antigens in a tolerogenic manner. The endocytic receptor DEC-205 was utilized to deliver an IGRP206-214 mimotope to DCs in NOD mice, and the impact of this delivery on a polyclonal population of endogenous islet-reactive cognate T cells was determined. Assessment of islet-infiltrating CD8(+) T cells showed a decrease in the percentage, and the absolute number, of endogenous IGRP206-214-specific T cells when the mimotope was delivered to DCs, compared with delivery of a specificity control. Employing an adoptive transfer system, deletion of CD8(+) T cells as a result of DEC-205-mediated antigen targeting was found to occur independently of programmed death-1 (PD-1) and its ligand (PD-L1), both often implicated in the regulation of peripheral T-cell tolerance. Given its promise for the manipulation of self-reactive polyclonal T cells demonstrated here, the distinctive characteristics of this antigen delivery system will be important to appreciate as its potential as an intervention for autoimmune diseases continues to be investigated.
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