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Immunity. 1998 May;8(5):543-52.

A basis for alloreactivity: MHC helical residues broaden peptide recognition by the TCR.

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Department of Pathology and Center for Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


The high frequency of alloreactive T cells is a major hindrance for transplantation; however, the molecular basis for alloreactivity remains elusive. We examined the I-Ep alloreactivity of a well-characterized Hb(64-76)/I-Ek-specific murine T cell. Using a combinatorial peptide library approach, we identified a highly stimulatory alloepitope mimic and observed that the recognition of the central TCR contact residues (P3 and P5) was much more flexible than that seen with Hb(64-76)/I-Ek, but still specific. Therefore, alloreactive T cells can recognize a self-peptide/MHC surface; however, the allogeneic MHC molecule changes the recognition requirements for the central region of the peptide, allowing a more diverse repertoire of ligands to be recognized.

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