Epitope specificity and MHC restriction of rheumatoid arthritis synovial T cell clones which recognize a mycobacterial 65 kDa heat shock protein
Gaston, J.S.; Life, P.F.; van der Zee, R.; Jenner, P.J.; Colston, M.J.; Tonks, S.; Bacon, P.A.
International Immunology 3(10): 965-972
CD4+ T cell clones specific for the mycobacterial hsp 65 were obtained from synovial fluid of a DR4 homozygous rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patient. A stimulatory epitope was defined using both deletion mutants of the mycobacterial hsp 65 and synthetic peptides and proved to be in a highly conserved region of the molecule. Despite this, however, there was no recognition by these clones of either the recombinant human homologue of mycobacterial hsp 65, P60, nor of a synthetic peptide containing an amino acid sequence from P60 corresponding to the epitope defined in the mycobacterial hsp 65. When the pattern of HLA restriction shown by the hsp-65-specific T cell clones was investigated, all clones tested proved to be restricted by HLA-DP rather than the more usual HLA-DR. Inhibition experiments suggested that this restriction also applied to the polyclonal synovial T cell response to hsp 65, but not to other antigens. Exclusive restriction of T cell recognition of an antigen by HLA-DP has not been reported previously, and strongly suggests that in this case the T cell repertoire for recognizing hsp 65 in the context of DR4 is deficient. Such an association between DR4 and the inability to respond to an immunodominant bacterial antigen may have implications for the pathogenesis of RA.