J Exp Med 2003 May 19;197(10):1391-7
Seamons A, Sutton J, Bai D, Baird E, Bonn N, Kafsack BF, Shabanowitz J, Hunt DF, Beeson C, Goverman J.
Department of Immunology, Box 357650, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195.
Experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) is an animal model for multiple sclerosis induced by stimulating myelin basic protein (MBP)-specific T cells.
The MBP-specific repertoire in B10.PL mice is shaped by tolerance mechanisms that eliminate MBP121-150-specific T cells.
In contrast, MBPAc1-11-specific T cells escape tolerance and constitute the encephalitogenic repertoire.
To determine if this differential tolerance is caused by differences in the abundance of MBP epitopes generated by processing, MBP peptides were eluted from I-Au complexes and analyzed by mass spectrometry.
Peptides were identified from both the NH2-terminal and MBP121-150 regions.
Unexpectedly, MBPAc1-18 and Ac1-17, which contain the MBPAc1-11 epitope, were much more abundant than MBP121-150 peptides.
The results demonstrate that competition between two I-Au binding registers, a low affinity register defined by MBPAc1-11 and a high affinity register defined by MBP5-16, prevents most of the NH2-terminal naturally processed peptides from binding in the MBPAc1-11 register.
The small fraction of MBPAc1-18 bound in the MBPAc1-11 register is not sufficient to induce tolerance but provides a ligand for MBPAc1-11-specific T cells during disease.
These results provide a basis for both the lack of tolerance to MBPAc1-11 and the ability of this epitope to become a target during autoimmunity.