, Volume 47, Issue 5, pp 398-403

Tyrosinase epitope recognized by an HLA-DR-restricted T-cell line from a Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease patient

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 Human T-cell-mediated autoimmune diseases are often genetically linked to particular alleles of HLA class II genes. Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada’s (VKH) disease, which is regarded as an autoimmune disorder in multiple organs containing melanocytes, has been found to be associated with HLA-DR4 (DRB1*0405) and HLA-DR53 (DRB4*0101). Tyrosinase is a melanoma antigen (Ag) expressed by normal melanocytes as well as melanoma cells against which responses by autologous T cells have been detected. We established a T-cell line from the peripheral blood of a patient with VKH disease which responded to synthetic peptides corresponding to tyrosinase. The T-cell line was generated which recognized the tyrosinase p188 – 208 peptide when presented by the HLA-DR4 (DRB1*0405) molecule on the surface of HLA class II-expressing L-cell transfectants. The minimal antigenic peptide which induced T-cell responses was an 11-amino-acid sequence and located at tyrosinase p193 – 203 (E-I-W-R-D-I-D-F-A-H-E). This peptide contained the DRB1*0405-binding peptide motif (hydrophobic residues (Y, F, W) at position 1 as an anchor residue, and negatively charged residues (D, E) at position 9), which corresponded to the W at p195 and the D at p203. These observations demonstrate that tyrosinase peptides are immunogenic, and may be a candidate for an autoantigen in VKH disease, suggesting that probing the T-cell responses against synthetic peptides is a productive approach for identifying the autoantigenic peptides associated with autoimmune diseases including VKH disease.

Received: 22 August 1997 / Revised: 7 October 1997