47 Scopus citations


The diversity of Ags targeted by T cells in autoimmune diabetes is unknown. In this study, we identify and characterize a limited number of naturally processed peptides from pancreatic islet β-cells selected by diabetogenic I-Ag7 molecules of NOD mice. We used insulinomas transfected with the CIITA transactivator, which resulted in their expression of class II histocompatibility molecules and activation of diabetogenic CD4 T cells. Peptides bound to I-Ag7 were isolated and examined by mass spectrometry: some peptides derived from proteins present in secretory granules of endocrine cells, and a number were shared with cells of neuronal lineage. All proteins to which peptides were identified were expressed in β cells from normal islets. Peptides bound to I-Ag7 molecules contained the favorable binding motif characterized by acidic amino acids at the P9 position. The draining pancreatic lymph nodes of prediabetic NOD mice contained CD4 T cells that recognized three different natural peptides. Furthermore, four different peptides elicited CD4 T cells, substantiating the presence of such self-reactive T cells. The overall strategy of identifying natural peptides from islet β-cells opens up new avenues to evaluate the repertoire of self-reactive T cells and its role in onset of diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3849-3856
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2008


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