Mechanisms of T Cell Receptor Antagonism: Implications in the Treatment of Disease

Author(s): Bonnie N. Dittel

Journal Name: Current Molecular Medicine

Volume 1 , Issue 3 , 2001

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The adaptive immune response is often required for the successful clearing of infectious pathogens. Antigen presenting cells (APC) present peptide antigens derived from pathogens to T cells via major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. T cells then become activated and differentiate into effector cells with the capacity to kill infected cells or to induce an anti-pathogen antibody response. In autoimmunity, this T cell response is directed against self-antigens and often leads to deleterious effects on specific tissues. Likewise, T cell responses to allogeneic MHC molecules in transplants also leads to pathology. By introducing subtle changes in the antigenic peptide amino acid content, T cell activation can be inhibited, thereby preventing T cell effector functions. This strategy of TCR antagonism has been used successfully in vitro and in vivo to inhibit models of autoimmunity and allorecognition. In addition, a variety of pathogens that often result in chronic disease following infection, also have seemingly evolved natural mechanisms to inhibit T cell responses by antagonism. These microorganisms express natural variants of certain proteins, that when presented to T cells have the capacity to specifically inhibit T cell responses by functioning as antagonists or by modulating the nature of the T cell response. The understanding of how pathogens mediate this inhibition in vivo will be beneficial to ongoing studies in both autoimmunity and transplantation aimed at suppressing the harmful immune response, thereby controlling disease. TCR antagonism seems to have the potential to be used therapeutically to prevent or inhibit an undesired T cell response that will ultimately lead to disease.

Keywords: T Cell Receptor Antagonism, Disease, major histocompatibility complex (MHC), TCR antagonism, APC, T cell receptor (TCR), graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), human central nervous system (CNS) autoimmune disease, CD69

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Article Details

Year: 2001
Page: [339 - 355]
Pages: 17
DOI: 10.2174/1566524013363799
Price: $65

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