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Nature. 1986 Dec 11-17;324(6097):578-9.

H-2-restricted cytolytic T cells specific for HLA can recognize a synthetic HLA peptide.


It is generally accepted that T lymphocytes recognize antigens in the context of molecules encoded by genes in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). MHC class II-restricted T cells usually recognize degraded or denatured rather than native forms of antigen on the surface of class II-bearing antigen presenting cells. It has recently been shown that short synthetic peptides corresponding to mapped antigenic sites of the influenza nucleoprotein (NP) can render uninfected target cells susceptible to lysis by NP-specific class I-restricted cytolytic T cells (CTL). These and earlier experiments that showed specific recognition of NP deletion mutant transfectants suggest that class I-restricted recognition might also involve processed antigenic fragments. One important issue arising from these studies is whether the model applies not only to viral proteins that are expressed internally (such as NP) but also to antigens normally expressed as integral membrane proteins at the cell surface. We have recently isolated class I-restricted mouse CTL clones that recognize class I gene products of the human MHC (HLA) as antigens in mouse cell HLA-transfectants. Here we show that these anti-HLA CTL can lyse HLA-negative syngeneic mouse cells in the presence of a synthetic HLA peptide. These results suggest that the model applies generally.

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