HLA DR3 is an MHC molecule that reportedly predisposes humans to myasthenia gravis (MG). Though MG is an Ab-mediated autoimmune disease, CD4+ T cells are essential for the generation of high-affinity Abs; hence the specificities of autoreactive CD4+ T cells are important. In this study we report the HLA DR3-restricted T cell determinants on the extracellular region sequence of human acetylcholine receptor α subunit. We find two promiscuous determinants on this region 141-160 and 171-190 as defined by their immunogenicity in HLA DR3-, HLA DQ8-, and HLA DQ6-transgenic mice in the absence of endogenous mouse class II molecules. We also studied the minimal determinants of these two regions by truncation analysis, and the MHC binding affinity of a set of overlapping peptides spanning the complete sequence region of human acetylcholine receptor α subunit. One of the peptide sequences strongly immunogenic in HLA DR3-transgenic mice also had the highest binding affinity to HLA DR3. Identification of T cell determinants restricted to an MHC molecule known to predispose to MG may be an important step toward the development of peptide-based immunomodulation strategies for this autoimmune disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy