Human T-cell clones used to define functional epitopes on HLA class II molecules

C. M. Weyand, J. Goronzy, C. G. Fathman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Polyclonal reagents have been used to define HLA class II molecules in conventional serologic and cellular typing. We generated human alloreactive T-cell clones to analyze the functional fine specificities of HLA class II molecules that might be important for the phenomenon of HLA and disease association. We chose to examine HLA-Dw14, an HLA-D specificity that has been associated with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. In this paper we have presented data that suggest that conventional cellular typing does not reflect the distribution of T-cell epitopes on major histocompatibility complex class II molecules. We describe three alloreactive T-cell clones that have defined three separate Dw14-associated T-cell epitopes. Two of these epitopes were on a DR-region molecule; the third was located on a DQ-region product. In a panel of unrelated DR4-positive donors, these three Dw14-associated determinants were present in a high frequency but were not linked to each other. Within the tested panel of DR4-positive cells, all possible combinatorial arrangements of these three allodeterminants were seen. The concurrent expression of any two of the three allodeterminants was equivalent to a positive typing response for Dw14. Our finding that HLA-Dw14 is not characterized by a unique allodeterminant but by the combinatorial recognition of independently distributed T-cell interaction sites suggest that analysis of HLA and disease association may be more clearly demonstrated through the use of human T-cell clones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)762-766
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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