A TCR V alpha CDR3-specific motif associated with Lewis rat autoimmune encephalomyelitis and basic protein-specific T cell clones.J Immunol. 1997 Jun 01; 158(11):5472-83.JI
To investigate TCR V alpha gene expression in the Lewis rat model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, we obtained V alpha chain sequences from two V beta8.2+-encephalitogenic, BP72-89-specific T cell clones. Two different V alpha genes, a V alpha2 gene and a V alpha23 gene, are utilized, but both were found to contain an asparagine repeat (Asn3+) sequence present in the V alpha CDR3 region. This Asn3+ motif is also present in the previously reported sequence of a BP68-88-specific hybridoma, 510, which utilizes a different V alpha2 gene family member. In further experiments, spinal cord T cells were isolated at the onset of basic protein (BP)-induced disease and sorted for the OX-40 activation marker, which we have previously used to enrich for specifically activated T cells. Analysis of V alpha expression in the OX-40+ population revealed the biased use of three V alpha genes, V alpha1, V alpha2, and V alpha23. The Asn3+ motif was present in the V alpha CDR3 region of V alpha1, V alpha2, and V alpha23 cDNA derived from OX-40+ spinal cord T cells but found to be generally absent in the OX-40- spinal cord population. Since these Asn3+ motif-bearing V alpha chain sequences are nearly identical to those utilized by the BP-specific encephalitogenic clones described, it is likely that these V alpha sequences are derived from disease-associated T cells in the spinal cord. Thus, we demonstrate that the Asn3+ V alpha CDR3 motif is strongly associated with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in the Lewis rat and propose that it plays a role in TCR recognition of a specific BP peptide/MHC complex.