Celiac disease is a T cell-mediated disease induced by dietary gluten, a component of which is gliadin. 95% of individuals with celiac disease carry the HLA (human leukocyte antigen)-DQ2 locus. Here we determined the T-cell receptor (TCR) usage and fine specificity of patient-derived T-cell clones specific for two epitopes from wheat gliadin, DQ2.5-glia-?1a and DQ2.5-glia-?2. We determined the ternary structures of four distinct biased TCRs specific for those epitopes. All three TCRs specific for DQ2.5-glia-?2 docked centrally above HLA-DQ2, which together with mutagenesis and affinity measurements provided a basis for the biased TCR usage. A non-germline encoded arginine residue within the CDR3? loop acted as the lynchpin within this common docking footprint. Although the TCRs specific for DQ2.5-glia-?1a and DQ2.5-glia-?2 docked similarly, their interactions with the respective gliadin determinants differed markedly, thereby providing a basis for epitope specificity.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is strongly associated with the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DRB1 locus that possesses the shared susceptibility epitope (SE) and the citrullination of self-antigens. We show how citrullinated aggrecan and vimentin epitopes bind to HLA-DRB1*04:01/04. Citrulline was accommodated within the electropositive P4 pocket of HLA-DRB1*04:01/04, whereas the electronegative P4 pocket of the RA-resistant HLA-DRB1*04:02 allomorph interacted with arginine or citrulline-containing epitopes. Peptide elution studies revealed P4 arginine-containing peptides from HLA-DRB1*04:02, but not from HLA-DRB1*04:01/04. Citrullination altered protease susceptibility of vimentin, thereby generating self-epitopes that are presented to T cells in HLA-DRB1*04:01(+) individuals. Using HLA-II tetramers, we observed citrullinated vimentin- and aggrecan-specific CD4(+) T cells in the peripheral blood of HLA-DRB1*04:01(+) RA-affected and healthy individuals. In RA patients, autoreactive T cell numbers correlated with disease activity and were deficient in regulatory T cells relative to healthy individuals. These findings reshape our understanding of the association between citrullination, the HLA-DRB1 locus, and T cell autoreactivity in RA.
Interferon ? (IFN?) is a member of the type I interferon family of cytokines widely recognised for their anti-viral, anti-proliferative and immunomodulatory properties. Recombinant, biologically active forms of this cytokine are used clinically for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and in laboratories to study the role of this cytokine in health and disease. Established methods for expression of IFN? utilise either bacterial systems from which the insoluble recombinant proteins must be refolded, or mammalian expression systems in which large volumes of cell culture are required for recovery of acceptable yields. Utilising the baculovirus expression system and Trichoplusia ni (Cabbage Looper) BTI-TN-5B1-4 cell line, we report a reproducible method for production and purification of milligram/litre quantities of biologically active murine IFN?. Due to the design of our construct and the eukaryotic nature of insect cells, the resulting soluble protein is secreted allowing purification of the Histidine-tagged natively-folded protein from the culture supernatant. The IFN? purification method described is a two-step process employing immobilised metal-ion affinity chromatography (IMAC) and reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) that results in production of significantly more purified IFN? than any other reported eukaryotic-based expression system. Recombinant murine IFN? produced by this method was natively folded and demonstrated hallmark type I interferon biological effects including antiviral and anti-proliferative activities, and induced genes characteristic of IFN? activity in vivo. Recombinant IFN? also had specific activity levels exceeding that of the commercially available equivalent. Together, our findings provide a method for production of highly pure, biologically active murine IFN?.
Type I interferons are important in regulating immune responses to pathogens and tumors. All interferons are considered to signal via the heterodimeric IFNAR1-IFNAR2 complex, yet some subtypes such as interferon-? (IFN-?) can exhibit distinct functional properties, although the molecular basis of this is unclear. Here we demonstrate IFN-? can uniquely and specifically ligate to IFNAR1 in an IFNAR2-independent manner, and we provide the structural basis of the IFNAR1-IFN-? interaction. The IFNAR1-IFN-? complex transduced signals that modulated expression of a distinct set of genes independently of Jak-STAT pathways. Lipopolysaccharide-induced sepsis was ameliorated in Ifnar1(-/-) mice but not Ifnar2(-/-) mice, suggesting that IFNAR1-IFN-? signaling is pathologically relevant. Thus, we provide a molecular basis for understanding specific functions of IFN-?.
Several studies have shown that transmission of natural scrapie can occur vertically and horizontally, and that variations in scrapie incidence between and within infected flocks are mostly due to differences in the proportion of sheep with susceptible and resistant PRNP genotypes. This report presents the results of a 12-year period of scrapie monitoring in a closed flock of Suffolk sheep, in which only animals of the ARQ/ARQ genotype developed disease. Among a total of 120 of these, scrapie attack rates varied between birth cohorts from 62.5?% (5/8) to 100?% (9/9), and the incidence of clinical disease among infected sheep from 88.9?% (8/9) to 100?% (in five birth cohorts). Susceptible sheep born to scrapie-infected ewes showed a slightly higher risk of becoming infected (97.2?%), produced earlier biopsy-positive results (mean 354 days) and developed disease at a younger age (median 736 days) than those born to non-infected dams (80.3?%, 451 and 782 days, respectively). Taken together, this was interpreted as evidence of maternal transmission. However, it was also observed that, for the birth cohorts with the highest incidence of scrapie (90-100?%), sheep born to infected and non-infected dams had a similar risk of developing scrapie (97.1 and 95.3?%, respectively). Compared with moderate-attack-rate cohorts (62.5-66.7?%), high-incidence cohorts had greater numbers of susceptible lambs born to infected ewes, suggesting that increased rates of horizontal transmission in these cohorts could have been due to high levels of environmental contamination caused by infected placentas.
Members of the killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) family, a large group of polymorphic receptors expressed on natural killer (NK) cells, recognize particular peptide-laden human leukocyte antigen (pHLA) class I molecules and have a pivotal role in innate immune responses. Allelic variation and extensive polymorphism within the three-domain KIR family (KIR3D, domains D0-D1-D2) affects pHLA binding specificity and is linked to the control of viral replication and the treatment outcome of certain haematological malignancies. Here we describe the structure of a human KIR3DL1 receptor bound to HLA-B*5701 complexed with a self-peptide. KIR3DL1 clamped around the carboxy-terminal end of the HLA-B*5701 antigen-binding cleft, resulting in two discontinuous footprints on the pHLA. First, the D0 domain, a distinguishing feature of the KIR3D family, extended towards ?2-microglobulin and abutted a region of the HLA molecule with limited polymorphism, thereby acting as an innate HLA sensor domain. Second, whereas the D2-HLA-B*5701 interface exhibited a high degree of complementarity, the D1-pHLA-B*5701 contacts were suboptimal and accommodated a degree of sequence variation both within the peptide and the polymorphic region of the HLA molecule. Although the two-domain KIR (KIR2D) and KIR3DL1 docked similarly onto HLA-C and HLA-B respectively, the corresponding D1-mediated interactions differed markedly, thereby providing insight into the specificity of KIR3DL1 for discrete HLA-A and HLA-B allotypes. Collectively, in association with extensive mutagenesis studies at the KIR3DL1-pHLA-B*5701 interface, we provide a framework for understanding the intricate interplay between peptide variability, KIR3D and HLA polymorphism in determining the specificity requirements of this essential innate interaction that is conserved across primate species.
The genetics of the prion protein gene (PRNP) play a crucial role in determining the relative susceptibility to transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) in several mammalian species. To determine the PRNP gene variability in European red deer (Cervus elaphus), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra), the PRNP open reading frame from 715 samples was analysed to reveal a total of ten single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). In red deer, SNPs were found in codons 15, 21, 59, 78, 79, 98, 136, 168 and 226. These polymorphisms give rise to 12 haplotypes, and one of which is identical to the PRNP of American wapiti (Rocky Mountain elk, Cervus elaphus nelsoni). One silent mutation at codon 119 was detected in chamois and no SNPs were found in roe deer. This analysis confirmed that European wild ruminants have a PRNP genetic background that is compatible with TSE susceptibility, including chronic wasting disease.
The semi-invariant natural killer T cell receptor (NKT TCR) recognizes CD1d-lipid antigens. Although the TCR alpha chain is typically invariant, the beta chain expression is more diverse, where three V beta chains are commonly expressed in mice. We report the structures of V alpha 14-V beta 8.2 and V alpha 14-V beta 7 NKT TCRs in complex with CD1d-alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer) and the 2.5 A structure of the human NKT TCR-CD1d-alpha-GalCer complex. Both V beta 8.2 and V beta 7 NKT TCRs and the human NKT TCR ligated CD1d-alpha-GalCer in a similar manner, highlighting the evolutionarily conserved interaction. However, differences within the V beta domains of the V beta 8.2 and V beta 7 NKT TCR-CD1d complexes resulted in altered TCR beta-CD1d-mediated contacts and modulated recognition mediated by the invariant alpha chain. Mutagenesis studies revealed the differing contributions of V beta 8.2 and V beta 7 residues within the CDR2 beta loop in mediating contacts with CD1d. Collectively we provide a structural basis for the differential NKT TCR V beta usage in NKT cells.
The cause of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) epidemic in the United Kingdom (UK) was the inclusion of contaminated meat and bone meal in the protein rations fed to cattle. Those rations were not restricted to cattle but were also fed to other livestock including farmed and free living deer. Although there are no reported cases to date of natural BSE in European deer, BSE has been shown to be naturally or experimentally transmissible to a wide range of different ungulate species. Moreover, several species of North Americas cervids are highly susceptible to chronic wasting disease (CWD), a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) that has become endemic. Should BSE infection have been introduced into the UK deer population, the CWD precedent could suggest that there is a danger for spread and maintenance of the disease in both free living and captive UK deer populations. This study compares the immunohistochemical and biochemical characteristics of BSE and CWD in experimentally-infected European red deer (Cervus elpahus elaphus).
Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I molecules present a variety of posttranslationally modified epitopes at the cell surface, although the consequences of such presentation remain largely unclear. Phosphorylation plays a critical cellular role, and deregulation in phosphate metabolism is associated with disease, including autoimmunity and tumor immunity. We have solved the high-resolution structures of 3 HLA A2-restricted phosphopeptides associated with tumor immunity and compared them with the structures of their nonphosphorylated counterparts. Phosphorylation of the epitope was observed to affect the structure and mobility of the bound epitope. In addition, the phosphoamino acid stabilized the HLA peptide complex in an epitope-specific manner and was observed to exhibit discrete flexibility within the antigen-binding cleft. Collectively, our data suggest that phosphorylation generates neoepitopes that represent demanding targets for T-cell receptor ligation. These findings provide insights into the mode of phosphopeptide presentation by HLA as well as providing a platform for the rational design of a generation of posttranslationally modified tumor vaccines.
In order to gain a better understanding of the pathogenesis of scrapie in sheep an experimental model was developed to characterise immune system cells in the minutes following inoculation with scrapie-brain homogenate. Four 1-year-old susceptible (ARQ/ARQ) sheep were inoculated via the subcutaneous route at four different peripheral lymph node (LNs) drainage sites, at specific time points, prior to euthanasia of the sheep. The LNs were removed post-mortem at 30, 90, 180 and 300min after inoculation. Flow cytometric triple-labelling was carried out on the LN cells and indicated that inoculation of scrapie-brain homogenate adjacent to a lymph node may delay or even inhibit the number of host CD21(+) B cells expressed within the first 5h. Immunohistochemistry was used to attempt detection of the abnormal form of prion protein (PrP(sc)) in draining LNs adjacent to inoculation sites, with negative results at those time points.
Celiac disease is a human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DQ2- and/or DQ8-associated T cell-mediated disorder that is induced by dietary gluten. Although it is established how gluten peptides bind HLA-DQ8 and HLA-DQ2, it is unclear how such peptide-HLA complexes are engaged by the T cell receptor (TCR), a recognition event that triggers disease pathology. We show that biased TCR usage (TRBV9(?)01) underpins the recognition of HLA-DQ8-?-I-gliadin. The structure of a prototypical TRBV9(?)01-TCR-HLA-DQ8-?-I-gliadin complex shows that the TCR docks centrally above HLA-DQ8-?-I-gliadin, in which all complementarity-determining region-? (CDR?) loops interact with the gliadin peptide. Mutagenesis at the TRBV9(?)01-TCR-HLA-DQ8-?-I-gliadin interface provides an energetic basis for the V? bias. Moreover, CDR3 diversity accounts for TRBV9(?)01(+) TCRs exhibiting differing reactivities toward the gliadin epitopes at various deamidation states. Accordingly, biased TCR usage is an important factor in the pathogenesis of DQ8-mediated celiac disease.
It has long been established that the sheep Prnp genotype influences the susceptibility to scrapie, and some studies suggest that it can also determine several aspects of the disease phenotype. Other studies, however, indicate that the source of infection may also play a role in such phenotype. To address this question an experiment was set up in which either of two different natural scrapie sources, AAS from AA136 Suffolk and VVC from VV136 Cheviot sheep, were inoculated into AA136, VA136 and VV136 sheep recipients (n?=?52). The immunohistochemical (IHC) profile of disease-associated PrP (PrPd) accumulation in the brain of recipient sheep was highly consistent upon codon 136 homologous and semi-homologous transmission, but could be either similar to or different from those of the inoculum donors. In contrast, the IHC profiles were highly variable upon heterologous transmission (VVC to AA136 and AAS to VV136). Furthermore, sheep of the same Prnp genotype could exhibit different survival times and PrPd profiles depending on the source of infection, and a correlation was observed between IHC and Western blot profiles. It was found that additional polymorphisms at codons 112 or 141 of AA136 recipients resulted in a delayed appearance of clinical disease or even in protection from infection. The results of this study strongly suggest that the scrapie phenotype in sheep results from a complex interaction between source, donor and recipient factors, and that the Prnp genotype of the recipient sheep does not explain the variability observed upon codon 136 heterologous transmissions, arguing for other genetic factors to be involved.
Prion diseases exhibit different disease phenotypes in their natural hosts and when transmitted to rodents, and this variability is regarded as indicative of prion strain diversity. Phenotypic characterization of scrapie strains in sheep can be attempted by histological, immunohistochemical and biochemical approaches, but it is widely considered that strain confirmation and characterization requires rodent bioassay. Examples of scrapie strains obtained from original sheep isolates by serial passage in mice include ME7, 79A, 22A and 87V. In order to address aspects of prion strain stability across the species barrier, we transmitted the above murine strains to sheep of different breeds and susceptible Prnp genotypes. The experiment included 40 sheep dosed by the oral route alone and 36 sheep challenged by combined subcutaneous and intracerebral routes. Overall, the combined route produced higher attack rates (~100%) than the oral route (~50%) and 2-4 times shorter incubation periods. Uniquely, 87V given orally was unable to infect any sheep. Overall, scrapie strains adapted and cloned in mice produce distinct but variable disease phenotypes in sheep depending on breed or Prnp genotype. Further re-isolation experiments in mice are in progress in order to determine whether the original cloned murine disease phenotype will reemerge.
The ability of prions to infect some species and not others is determined by the transmission barrier. This unexplained phenomenon has led to the belief that certain species were not susceptible to transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and therefore represented negligible risk to human health if consumed. Using the protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) technique, we were able to overcome the species barrier in rabbits, which have been classified as TSE resistant for four decades. Rabbit brain homogenate, either unseeded or seeded in vitro with disease-related prions obtained from different species, was subjected to serial rounds of PMCA. De novo rabbit prions produced in vitro from unseeded material were tested for infectivity in rabbits, with one of three intracerebrally challenged animals succumbing to disease at 766 d and displaying all of the characteristics of a TSE, thereby demonstrating that leporids are not resistant to prion infection. Material from the brain of the clinically affected rabbit containing abnormal prion protein resulted in a 100% attack rate after its inoculation in transgenic mice overexpressing rabbit PrP. Transmissibility to rabbits (>470 d) has been confirmed in 2 of 10 rabbits after intracerebral challenge. Despite rabbits no longer being able to be classified as resistant to TSEs, an outbreak of "mad rabbit disease" is unlikely.
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