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Int Immunol. 2000 Sep;12(9):1217-25.

The epitope detected by cytotoxic T lymphocytes against thymus leukemia (TL) antigen is TAP independent.

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Laboratory of Immunology, Aichi Cancer Center Research Institute, 1-1 Kanokoden, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8681, Japan.


Thymus leukemia (TL) antigens belong to the family of MHC class Ib antigens. We have shown in our previous studies that they serve as transplantation antigens, and can be recognized by both TCR alpha beta and TCR gamma delta cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) with TL but not H-2 restriction. Although TL are known to be expressed TAP independently, it is unclear whether peptide loading on TL molecules is necessary for the formation of CTL epitopes. In the present study, we first showed that TL expression is beta(2)-microglobulin (beta(2)m)-dependent but TAP1 independent by flow cytometric analysis of thymocytes from beta(2)m- or TAP1-deficient mice crossed with TL transgenic mice expressing Tla(a)-3-TL on their thymocytes. Subsequently, we investigated the epitope recognized by CTL derived from C3H mice immunized with skin from a transgenic mouse expressing T3(b)-TL ubiquitously. Bulk CTL lines against TL from primary mixed lymphocyte cultures showed comparable cytotoxicity against T3(b)-TL transfectants of TAP2-deficient murine RMA-S grown at 37 degrees C to that against those grown at 25 degrees C. Furthermore, TCR alpha beta and TCR gamma delta CTL clones against TL recognized TL expressed on T3(b)-TL transfectants of RMA-S and Drosophila melanogaster cells having broad defects in peptide loading of MHC, and lysed these target cells. These results together indicate that TL-specific CTL populations primarily recognize epitopes expressed TAP independently.

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