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J Clin Invest. 1999 Aug;104(3):345-55.

Major peptide autoepitopes for nucleosome-specific T cells of human lupus.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA.

Abstract

We tested 154 peptides spanning the entire length of core histones of nucleosomes for the ability to stimulate an anti-DNA autoantibody-inducing T helper (Th) clone, as well as CD4(+) T-cell lines and T cells, in fresh PBMCs from 23 patients with lupus erythematosus. In contrast to normal T cells, lupus T cells responded strongly to certain histone peptides, irrespective of the patient's disease status. Nucleosomal peptides in histone regions H2B(10-33), H4(16-39) (and overlapping H4(14-28)), H4(71-94), and H3(91-105) (and overlapping H3(100-114)) were recurrently recognized by CD4 T cells from the patients with lupus. Remarkably, these same peptides overlap with major epitopes for the Th cells that induce anti-DNA autoantibodies and nephritis in lupus-prone mice. We localized 2 other recurrent epitopes for human lupus T cells in H2A(34-48) and H4(49-63). All the T-cell autoepitopes have multiple HLA-DR binding motifs, and the epitopes are located in histone regions recognized by lupus autoantibodies, suggesting a basis for their immunodominance. Native nucleosomes and their peptides H4(16-39), H4(71-94), and H3(91-105) induced a stronger IFN-gamma response, whereas others, particularly, H2A(34-48), favored an IL-10- and/or IL-4-positive T-cell response. The major autoepitopes may reveal the mechanism of autoimmune T-cell expansion and lead to antigen-specific therapy of human lupus.

PMID:
10430616
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC408421
Free PMC Article
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