Murine infection with the Gram-positive intracellular bacterium Listeria monocytogenes activates CD8+ T cells that recognize bacterially derived N-formyl methionine peptides in the context of H2-M3 MHC class Ib molecules. Three peptides, fMIGWII, fMIVIL, and fMIVTLF, are targets of L. monocytogenes-specific CD8+ T cells. To investigate epitope cross-recognition by H2-M3-restricted CD8+ T cells, we deleted the sequence encoding fMIGWII from a virulent strain of L. monocytogenes. Infection with fMIGWII-deficient L. monocytogenes unexpectedly primed CD8+ T cells that stain with fMIGWII/H2-M3 tetramers and lyse fMIGWII-coated target cells in vivo. Because the fMIGWII sequence is nonredundant, we speculated that other bacterially derived Ags are priming these responses. HPLC peptide fractionation of bacterial culture supernatants revealed several distinct L. monocytogenes-derived peptides that are recognized by fMIGWII-specific T cells. Our results demonstrate that the dominant H2-M3-restricted CD8+ T cell population, although reactive with fMIGWII, is primed by other, non-fMIGWII peptides derived from L. monocytogenes. Although this degree of Ag receptor promiscuity is unusual for the adaptive immune system, it may be a more common feature of T cell responses restricted by nonpolymorphic MHC class Ib molecules.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy