Fine specificity of CD4+ T cell responses to the dominant encephalitogenic PLP 139-151 peptide in SJL/J mice

Bradford L. McRae*, Stephen D. Miller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


PLP 139-151(S) is the major encephalitogenic epitope of PLP in the SJL/J mouse. CD4+ T cells specific for PLP 139-151(S) induce a relapsing-remitting form of EAE which is similar to the human demyelinating disease MS in both clinical course and histopathology. We are interested in events involved in activation of autoreactive T cells and how to specifically regulate these immune response to both prevent and treat ongoing demyelinating disease. In the current study, we examined the effect of both amino acid substitutions and deletions in the native PLP 139-151(S) peptide to identify which residues are critical for immunogenicity and encephalitogenicity. Conservative and nonconservative substitutions at position 145 diminished or completely destroyed the encephalitogenic potential of the peptide without affecting the ability to recall a proliferative response in lymph node T cells primed with the native PLP 139-151(S) peptide indicating an interesting dichotomy between ability to induce T cell proliferation and ability to induce active clinical disease. In addition, tryptophan at position 144 was identified as a critical TCR contact site as a peptide containing an alanine for tryptophan at this position (A144) primed a unique population of T cells which did not cross react with the native PLP 139-151(S). In addition, A144 was unable to stimulate PLP 139-151(S)-specific T cells in vitro or to induce active relapsing EAE in vivo. The significance of these results to the potential development of new strategies for preventing and treating T cell-mediated autoimmune diseases is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)997-1004
Number of pages8
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1994


  • Proteolipid protein
  • T cells
  • experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
  • major histocompatibility complex
  • peptides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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