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J Immunol. 1992 Jun 1;148(11):3483-91.

Monoclonal antibody detection of a major self peptide. MHC class II complex.

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Laboratory of Immunology, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany 12201.


MHC class I and class II molecules transport foreign and self peptides to the cell surface and present them to T lymphocytes. Detection of these peptide:MHC complexes has thus far been limited to analysis of the response of a T cell. Previously, we showed that a mAb, Y-Ae, reacts with 10 to 15% of class II molecules on peripheral B lymphocytes and on cells in the thymus medulla but not thymus cortex in mice that express both I-Ab and I-Eb molecules. Elsewhere, we show that Y-Ae detects a self E alpha peptide bound to I-Ab molecules. Data presented here suggest that the antibody binds over the peptide binding groove of class II molecules, and, like a TCR, appears to recognize both the self peptide and polymorphic class II residues. In addition to B lymphocytes, the Y-Ae determinant is expressed at comparable levels on other APC, including macrophages and dendritic cells. Finally, the antibody does not react with invariant chain-associated class II complexes, thus providing direct evidence that invariant chain:class II complexes and peptide:class II complexes are mutually exclusive. These data provide further evidence that immunologic self is of limited complexity, and have important implications for T cell selection, self tolerance, and autoreactivity.

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