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Transplantation. 2011 Mar 15;91(5):494-500. doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e318207944c.

Tissue specificity of cross-reactive allogeneic responses by EBV EBNA3A-specific memory T cells.

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  • 1Department of Immunohematology and Blood Transfusion, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands.



The crossreactivity of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen 3A [EBNA3A])-specific CD8 T cells against allogeneic human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-B*44:02 has been shown to be dependent on presentation of self-peptide EEYLQAFTY by the target antigen. In this study, we report that allogeneic HLA-B*44:02 proximal tubular epithelial cells (PTECs) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) are poor targets for EBV EBNA3A-specific T cells.


The EEY peptide was exogenously loaded onto HLA-B*44:02 and HLA-B*44:03-expressing PTECs and HUVECs. EEY-peptide-loaded, and unloaded, PTECs and HUVECs were then incubated with serial dilutions of our EBNA3A T-cell clone, in a cytotoxicity assay.


Although HLA-B*44:02-expressing PTECs were specifically lysed in proportion to the effector/target ratio by the EBNA3A T-cell clone, without peptide loading, lysis was greatly increased by exogenous EEY peptide loading (15% vs. 75%; P<0.0001). HLA-B*44:02-expressing HUVECs were only lysed when loaded with exogenous EEY peptide (0% vs. 64%; P<0.0001). Lack of HLA expression and lack of ABCD3 gene expression were excluded as a cause for these results. PTECs and HUVECs were specifically targeted by another alloreactive T-cell clone without exogenous peptide loading, suggesting that the lack of recognition of HLA-B*44:02 epithelial and endothelial cells by the EBV EBNA3A T-cell clone was due to lack of EEYLQAFTY peptide presentation.


Tissue-specific (peptide dependent) alloreactivity may have important implications for transplantation monitoring and rejection.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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