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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Functional Analysis of Birch Pollen Allergen Bet v 1-Specific Regulatory T Cells.

Allergen-specific immunotherapy using peptides is an efficient treatment for allergic diseases. Recent studies suggest that the induction of CD4(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells might be associated with the suppression of allergic responses in patients after allergen-specific immunotherapy. Our aim was to identify MHC class II promiscuous T cell epitopes for the birch pollen allergen Bet v 1 capable of stimulating Treg cells with the purpose of inhibiting allergic responses. Ag-reactive CD4(+) T cell clones were generated from patients with birch pollen allergy and healthy volunteers by in vitro vaccination of PBMC using Bet v 1 synthetic peptides. Several CD4(+) T cell clones were induced by using 2 synthetic peptides (Bet v 1(141-156) and Bet v 1(51-68)). Peptide-reactive CD4(+) T cells recognized recombinant Bet v 1 protein, indicating that these peptides are produced by the MHC class II Ag processing pathway. Peptide Bet v 1(141-156) appears to be a highly MHC promiscuous epitope since T cell responses restricted by numerous MHC class II molecules ( DR4, DR9, DR11, DR15, and DR53) were observed. Two of these clones functioned as typical Treg cells (expressed CD25, GITR, and Foxp3 and suppressed the proliferation and IL-2 secretion of other CD4(+) T cells). Notably, the suppressive activity of these Treg cells required cell-cell contact and was not mediated through soluble IL-10 or TGF-beta. The identified promiscuous MHC class II epitope capable of inducing suppressive Treg responses may have important implication for the development of peptide-based Ag-specific immunotherapy to birch pollen allergy.[1]


  1. Functional Analysis of Birch Pollen Allergen Bet v 1-Specific Regulatory T Cells. Nagato, T., Kobayashi, H., Yanai, M., Sato, K., Aoki, N., Oikawa, K., Kimura, S., Abe, Y., Celis, E., Harabuchi, Y., Tateno, M. J. Immunol. (2007) [Pubmed]
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