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J Infect Dis. 1991 Jan;163(1):156-60.

A mycobacterial heat-shock protein-responsive gamma delta T cell clone also responds to the homologous human heat-shock protein: a possible link between infection and autoimmunity.

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Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells respond to a variety of stress conditions by increasing the synthesis of a family of proteins collectively known as heat-shock proteins (HSP). One of these, a 65-kDa HSP that is highly conserved in many bacteria, is a major target of the immune response to mycobacteria. A gamma delta T cell clone from a healthy donor that recognizes not only the 65-kDa mycobacterial HSP but also the recombinant human homologue of this HSP protein was raised. Like alpha beta T cell clones, which recognize mycobacterial HSP, the clone requires antigen-presenting cells for antigen-induced proliferation and can also be directly activated via receptor cross-linking through CD3 or the delta chain of the gamma delta T cell receptor. These data suggest that the induction of a gamma delta T cell response by bacterial antigens could lead to the expansion of cells that respond to autologous proteins and, therefore, may result in the development of autoimmunity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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