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To investigate how T cells recognize allogeneic class I proteins encoded by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), we examined the human cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) elicited in a mixed lymphocyte reaction against a lymphoblastoid B-cell line (JY) whose MHC-class I proteins are HLA-A2 and -B7. By panning the responding T cells on plates that were coated with purified HLA-A2, an essentially pure population of CD8+ anti-HLA-A2 CTL was isolated in a single step and established as a cell line designated A2p. In addition to lysing HLA-A2+ target cells, the A2p cells lysed HLA-A2- cells, including mouse cells (P815), when purified native HLA-A2 was attached to them, but not when denatured HLA-A2 was attached. Thus, contrary to the general rule that T cells recognize sequential antigenic determinants in denatured protein antigens, the alloreactive CTLs appear to recognize determinants that depend upon the native configuration of HLA-A2; however, the possibility that these T cells recognize a peptide adduct persistently associated with purified, soluble HLA-A2 has not been ruled out.

Original publication




Journal article


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Publication Date





2728 - 2732


Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139.


T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic, Cells, Cultured, Animals, Humans, Mice, Membrane Glycoproteins, Antigens, Differentiation, HLA Antigens, Epitopes, Cell Adhesion, Cytotoxicity, Immunologic, Major Histocompatibility Complex, Protein Denaturation, In Vitro Techniques