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Science. 2004 Jan 23;303(5657):527-31.

T cell activation by lipopeptide antigens.

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Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Smith Building Room 514, 1 Jimmy Fund Way, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Erratum in

  • Science. 2004 Apr 9;304(5668):211.


Unlike major histocompatibility proteins, which bind peptides, CD1 proteins display lipid antigens to T cells. Here, we report that CD1a presents a family of previously unknown lipopeptides from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, named didehydroxymycobactins because of their structural relation to mycobactin siderophores. T cell activation was mediated by the alphabeta T cell receptors and was specific for structure of the acyl and peptidic components of these antigens. These studies identify a means of intracellular pathogen detection and identify lipopeptides as a biochemical class of antigens for T cells, which, like conventional peptides, have a potential for marked structural diversity.

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