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Paper Chase

Two genetically identical antigen-presenting cell clones display heterogeneity in antigen processing.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.. 5 1, 1989;86(9):3316-20.
Michalek MT, Benacerraf B, Rock KL.

Division of Lymphocyte Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115.


Evidence from various antigen systems suggests that antigen processing can be one factor that determines the repertoire of immunogenic peptides. Thus, processing events may account for some of the disparity between the available and expressed helper T-cell repertoires. In this report, we demonstrate that the immunodominant T-cell determinant in ovalbumin [p323-339; ovalbumin-(323-339) heptadecapeptide] is processed differently by two genetically identical antigen-presenting cell lines, M12 and A20. The ovalbumin-specific T-cell-T-cell hybridomas, DO-11.10 and 3DO-54.8, were used to detect processed antigen. These T-T hybridomas have different fine specificities for the p323-339 determinant. A20 cells presented native ovalbumin well to both T-T hybridomas, whereas M12 cells presented native ovalbumin well to 3DO-54.8 but very inefficiently to DO-11.10. M12 and A20 cells effectively stimulated both T-T hybridomas with the same concentrations of the immunogenic synthetic peptide p323-339. Therefore, M12 cells and DO-11.10 can interact with each other, and both T-T hybridomas have similar sensitivities for the same immunogenic peptide. We conclude that genetically identical antigen-presenting cells can display heterogeneity in the fine processing of an immunodominant T-cell determinant, and synthetic model peptides that represent the minimal stimulatory sequence of a T-cell determinant are not necessarily identical to the structure of in vivo processed antigen. Heterogeneity in antigen processing by individual antigen-presenting cells would serve to increase the repertoire of immunogenic peptides that are presented to T cells.