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J Immunol. 2008 May 1;180(9):5833-42.

Conserved mycobacterial lipoglycoproteins activate TLR2 but also require glycosylation for MHC class II-restricted T cell activation.

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Division of Dermatology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, University of California-Los Angeles, 10833 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


CD4(+) T cell clones derived from a leprosy lesion and patient blood were used to monitor the isolation and identification of an Ag associated with the self-limited form of the disease. Biochemical purification and genetic analysis identified the T cell Ag as a conserved mycobacterial lipoglycoprotein LprG. LprG-mediated activation of CD4(+) T cells required specific MHC class II restriction molecules and intracellular processing. Although LprG activated TLR2, this alone was not sufficient to stimulate or inhibit T cell activation. A striking finding was that the carbohydrate moieties of LprG were required for optimal T cell activation, because recombinant LprG produced in Escherichia coli, or recombinant LprG produced in Mycobacterium smegmatis and digested by alpha-mannosidase, did not activate T cells. This study demonstrates that the universe of bacterial T cell Ags includes lipoglycoproteins, which act as TLR2 ligands but also require glycosylation for MHC class II-restricted T cell activation in vivo.

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