Human T cell receptor-mediated recognition of HLA-E.
García P., Llano M., de Heredia AB., Willberg CB., Caparrós E., Aparicio P., Braud VM., López-Botet M.
The HLA-E class Ib molecule presents hydrophobic peptides derived from the leader sequences of other class I molecules, constituting the ligands for CD94/NKG2 lectin-like receptors. Along the course of our studies on human CD94+ T cells, we characterized an alpha beta CD8+CD94/NKG2C+ CTL clone (K14). In cytolytic assays against the murine TAP-deficient RMA-S cells transfected with human beta2 microglobulin and HLA-E (RMA-S/HLA-E), loaded with different synthetic peptides, K14 displayed a pattern of specific recognition distinct to that observed in CD94/NKG2C+ NK clones tested in parallel. RMA-S/HLA-E cells loaded with some but not all HLA class I leader sequence peptides were efficiently recognized by K14 but not by CD94/NKG2C clones, andvice versa. Remarkably, K14 also reacted with HLA-E loaded with a peptide derived from the BZLF-1 Epstein-Barr virus protein. Anti-CD94 mAb did not prevent K14 cytotoxicity against RMA-S/HLA-E cells, whereas incubation with anti-clonotypic mAb specific for the K14 TCR markedly inhibited lysis. Soluble HLA-E tetramers refolded with different peptides (i.e. VMAPRTVLL, VMAPRTLIL, VMAPRTLFL) specifically stained K14 cells. HLA-E tetramer binding was minimally reduced by pretreatment with anti-CD94 mAb alone, but was completely prevented in combination with anti-clonotypic mAb. Altogether, the data unequivocally imply the generation of human T cells potentially recognizing through the alpha beta TCR HLA-E molecules that bind to class I- and virus-derived peptides.