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J Immunol. 2001 Sep 1;167(5):2724-33.

Monomorphic molecules function as additional recognition structures on haptenated target cells for HLA-A1-restricted, hapten-specific CTL.

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Institute of Immunology, University of Vienna, Medical School, Vienna, Austria.


Hapten-specific T cells have been shown to recognize haptenated peptides with high avidity and, in some instances, with promiscuous MHC restriction. In this study, the impact of Ag density on MHC restriction of a CTL response specific to the trinitrophenyl (TNP) hapten was investigated. In this study, we demonstrate a novel recognition mechanism used by TNP-specific CD8(+) CTL in the presence of high Ag doses. Although low levels of TNP epitopes on target cells allowed for HLA-A1-restricted CTL activity only, entirely MHC-independent target cell recognition became operative at high TNP loading. In both cases, recognition was mediated by the TCR. This MHC-independent recognition is target cell type restricted and critically involves in our model direct recognition of the ectonucleotidase family surface molecule CD39 by the CTL.

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