The NOD mouse is a model for autoimmune type 1 diabetes in humans. CD8 + T cells are essential for the destruction of the insulin-producing pancreatic β cells characterizing this disease. AI4 is a pathogenic CD8+ T cell clone, isolated from the islets of a 5-wk-old female NOD mouse, which is capable of mediating overt diabetes in the absence of CD4 + T cell help. Recent studies using MHC-congenic NOD mice revealed marked promiscuity of the AI4 TCR, as the selection of this clonotype can be influenced by multiple MHC molecules, including some class II Variants. The present work was designed, in part, to determine whether similar promiscuity also characterizes the effector function of mature AI4 CTL. Using splenocyte and bone marrow disease transfer models and in vitro islet-killing assays, we report that efficient recognition and destruction of β cells by AI4 requires the β cells to simultaneously express both H-2Db and H-2Kd class I MHC molecules. The ability of the AI4 TCR to interact with both H2Db and H2Kd was confirmed using recombinant peptide libraries. This approach also allowed us to define a mimotope peptide recognized by AI4 in an H-2Db-restricted manner. Using ELISPOT and mimotope/H-2Db tetramer analyses, we demonstrate for the first time that AI4 represents a readily detectable T cell population in the islet infiltrates of prediabetic NOD mice. Our identification of a ligand for AI4-like T cells will facilitate further characterization and manipulation of this pathogenic and promiscuous T cell population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy