Peptides corresponding to CD4-interacting regions of murine MHC class II molecules modulate immune responses of CD4+ T lymphocytes in vitro and in vivo

Xiaoli Shen, Bei Hu, Peter McPhie, Xiaohong Wu, Adrienne Fox, Ronald N. Germain, Rolf König

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29 Scopus citations


Immune responses mediated by CD4+ T cells depend on Ag-specific αβ TCRs that recognize the specific antigenic peptide presented by MHC class II molecules. Interactions between CD4 coreceptors and monomorphic regions of MHC class II molecules contribute to these responses. To examine whether immune reactions could be modulated by specifically interfering with CD4-MHC class II interactions, we have used, in various in vitro and in vivo assays, peptides that correspond to a region of MHC class II molecules previously shown to control interaction with CD4. Depending on the chemical nature and concentration of these peptides, they modulated Ag-specific responses of CD4+ T cells. At high concentrations, these peptides inhibited T cell responses in vitro. However, under conditions that can cause Ag-induced unresponsiveness, the peptides enhanced T cell responses. Also, primary in vivo immune responses to systemically administered soluble protein Ag, keyhole limpet hemocyanin, were enhanced when mice were treated with peptides corresponding to the CD4-interacting region of MHC class II molecules but not when treated with control peptides. Lymphokine profiles suggested that the peptides may favor the differentiation of Th1 cells, because lymphocytes from peptide-treated mice secreted more IL-2 and IFN-γ than lymphocytes from nontreated or control-peptide-treated mice upon restimulation with Ag in vitro. These results demonstrate that MHC class II-derived peptides can directly interfere with interactions with CD4 and modulate T cell responses in vitro and in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-100
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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