Susceptibility to a series of autoimmune diseases is strongly associated with particular HLA class II alleles. Identification of T cell clones and antigenic epitopes bound by HLA class II molecules involved in autoimmune diseases is critical to understanding the etiology of these HLA class II- associated diseases. However, establishment of T cell clones in autoimmune diseases is difficult because the antigenic peptides are unknown. Peptide library methods which include all possible peptide sequences offer a potentially powerful tool for the detection of cross-reactive antigenic peptides recognized by T cells. Here, we reduced the number of peptides per mixture by utilizing the known binding motifs of peptides for the HLA- DRB1*0405 molecule and evaluated the effectiveness of this library design. Each library mixture evoked a strong proliferative response in the unprimed peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) from HLA-DRB1*0405-positive donors but little or no response in the PBL from HLA-DRB1*0405-negative donors. The library also detected antigenic peptides that activated three antigen- specific T cell lines restricted by HLA-DRB1*0405, with different specificities. The motif-based approach thus presents a powerful method for monitoring T cells in large, heterogeneous T cell populations and is useful for the identification of the mimic peptide epitopes of T cell lines and clones.
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