Autoantibodies that target the water channel aquaporin-4 (AQP4) in neuromyelitis optica (NMO) are IgG1, a T celldependent Ig subclass. However, a role for AQP4-specific T cells in this CNS inflammatory disease is not known. To evaluate their potential role in CNS autoimmunity, we have identified and characterized T cells that respond to AQP4 in C57BL/6 and SJL/J mice, two strains that are commonly studied in models of CNS inflammatory diseases. Mice were immunized with either overlapping peptides or intact hAQP4 protein encompassing the entire 323 amino acid sequence. T cell determinants identified from examination of the AQP4 peptide (p) library were located within AQP4 p21-40, p91-110, p101-120, p166-180, p231-250 and p261-280 in C57BL/6 mice, and within p11-30, p21-40, p101-120, p126-140 and p261-280 in SJL/J mice. AQP4-specific T cells were CD4+ and MHC II-restricted. In recall responses to immunization with intact AQP4, T cells responded primarily to p21-40, indicating this region contains the immunodominant T cell epitope(s) for both strains. AQP4 p21-40-primed T cells secreted both IFN-c and IL-17. The core immunodominant AQP4 21-40 T cell determinant was mapped to residues 24-35 in C57BL/6 mice and 23-35 in SJL/J mice. Our identification of the AQP4 T cell determinants and characterization of its immunodominant determinant should permit investigators to evaluate the role of AQP4-specific T cells in vivo and to develop AQP4-targeted murine NMO models. © 2010 Nelson et al.
Nelson, P. A., Khodadoust, M., Prodhomme, T., Spencer, C., Patarroyo, J. C., Varrin-Doyer, M., … Zamvil, S. S. (2010). Immunodominant T cell determinants of aquaporin-4, the autoantigen associated with neuromyelitis optica. PLoS ONE, 5(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0015050