Mice bearing the I-Ag7 class II major histocompatibility complex molecules contain a high number of spontaneous autoreactive T cells, as estimated by limiting-dilution assays. We found this autoreactivity in various strains that bear the I-Ag7 molecule, such as the nonobese diabetic (NOD) mouse strain, which spontaneously develops autoimmune diabetes. However, NOD mice strains that do not express the I-Ag7 molecule, but instead express I-Ab, do not have a high incidence of autoreactive T cells. About 15% of the autoreactive T cells also recognize the I-Ag7 molecule expressed in the T2 line, which is defective in the processing of protein antigens. We interpret this to mean that some of the T cells may interact with class II molecules that are either devoid of peptides or contain a limited peptide content. We also find a high component of autoreactivity among antigenspecific T cell clones. These T cell clones proliferate specifically to protein antigens but also have a high level of reactivity to antigen-presenting cells not pulsed with antigen. Thus, the library of T cell receptors in NOD mice is skewed to autoreactivity, which we speculate is based on the weak peptidebinding properties of I-Ag7 molecules.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Feb 17 1998|