CD8+ T cells maintain tolerance to myelin basis protein by 'epitope theft'

Antoine Perchellet, Ingunn Stromnes, Jennifer M. Pang, Joan Goverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Myelin basic protein-specific CD8+ T cells can induce central nervous system autoimmunity; however, immune tolerance prevents these autoreactive cells from causing disease. To define the mechanisms that mediate tolerance, we developed two T cell receptor-transgenic mouse lines with different affinities for the H-2Kk-restricted myelin basic protein epitope consisting of amino acids 79-87 (MBP(79-87). We observed both thymic deletion and peripheral tolerance in the lower-affinity T cells. The higher-affinity T cells, however, showed no evidence of tolerance induction and were able to prevent tolerance of the lower-affinity T cells by removing H-2Kk-MBP(79-87) complexes from antigen-presenting cells without proliferating. This form of immune regulation could limit responses of self-reactive T cells that escape other tolerance mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)606-614
Number of pages9
JournalNature immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes


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