CD8 T cell responses to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-derived peptides in humanized HLA-A*0201-transgenic mice.J Immunol 2007; 179(8):5090-8JI
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating inflammatory disease of the CNS. Though originally believed to be CD4-mediated, additional immune effector mechanisms, including myelin-specific CD8(+) T cells, are now proposed to participate in the pathophysiology of MS. To study the immunologic and encephalitogenic behavior of HLA-A*0201-binding myelin-derived epitopes in vivo, we used a humanized HLA-A*0201-transgenic mouse model. Eight HLA-A*0201-binding peptides derived from myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), an immunodominant myelin self-Ag, were identified in silico. After establishing their relative affinity for HLA-A*0201 and their capacity to form stable complexes with HLA-A*0201 in vitro, their immunological characteristics were studied in HLA-A*0201-transgenic mice. Five MOG peptides, which bound stably to HLA-A*0201 exhibited strong immunogenicity by inducing a sizeable MOG-specific HLA-A*0201-restricted CD8(+) T cell response in vivo. Of these five candidate epitopes, four were processed by MOG-transfected RMA target cells and two peptides proved immunodominant in vivo in response to a plasmid-encoding native full-length MOG. One of the immunodominant MOG peptides (MOG(181)) generated a cytotoxic CD8(+) T cell response able to aggravate CD4(+)-mediated EAE. Therefore, this detailed in vivo characterization provides a hierarchy of candidate epitopes for MOG-specific CD8(+) T cell responses in HLA-A*0201 MS patients identifying the encephalitogenic MOG(181) epitope as a primary candidate.