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Cell. 1992 Feb 21;68(4):625-34.

Antigen analog-major histocompatibility complexes act as antagonists of the T cell receptor.

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Cytel, San Diego, California 92121.


A novel mechanism for inhibition of T cell responses is described. Using the recognition of the influenza hemagglutinin (HA) 307-319 peptide in the context of DR1 class II major histocompatibility complex molecules, we have found that nonstimulatory analogs of the HA peptide preferentially inhibit HA-specific T cells in inhibition of antigen presentation assays. This antigen-specific effect could be generalized to another DR1-restricted peptide, Tetanus toxoid 830-843. Direct binding and cellular experiments indicated that the mechanism responsible was distinct from competition for binding to DR1 molecules. Likewise, negative signaling and induction of T cell tolerance could also be excluded as effector mechanisms. Thus, the most likely mechanism for this effect is engagement of antigen-specific T cell receptors by DR1-peptide analog complexes, which results in antigen-specific competitive blocking of T cell responses by virtue of their capacity to compete with DR1-antigen complexes for binding to the T cell receptor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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