Comprehensive, quantitative mapping of T cell epitopes in gluten in celiac disease.
Tye-Din JA., Stewart JA., Dromey JA., Beissbarth T., van Heel DA., Tatham A., Henderson K., Mannering SI., Gianfrani C., Jewell DP., Hill AVS., McCluskey J., Rossjohn J., Anderson RP.
Celiac disease is a genetic condition that results in a debilitating immune reaction in the gut to antigens in grain. The antigenic peptides recognized by the T cells that cause this disease are incompletely defined. Our understanding of the epitopes of pathogenic CD4(+ )T cells is based primarily on responses shown by intestinal T-cells in vitro to hydrolysates or polypeptides of gluten, the causative antigen. A protease-resistant 33-amino acid peptide from wheat alpha-gliadin is the immunodominant antigen, but little is known about the spectrum of T cell epitopes in rye and barley or the hierarchy of immunodominance and consistency of recognition of T-cell epitopes in vivo. We induced polyclonal gluten-specific T cells in the peripheral blood of celiac patients by feeding them cereal and performed a comprehensive, unbiased analysis of responses to all celiac toxic prolamins, a class of plant storage protein. The peptides that stimulated T cells were the same among patients who ate the same cereal, but were different after wheat, barley and rye ingestion. Unexpectedly, a sequence from omega-gliadin (wheat) and C-hordein (barley) but not alpha-gliadin was immunodominant regardless of the grain consumed. Furthermore, T cells specific for just three peptides accounted for the majority of gluten-specific T cells, and their recognition of gluten peptides was highly redundant. Our findings show that pathogenic T cells in celiac disease show limited diversity, and therefore suggest that peptide-based therapeutics for this disease and potentially other strongly HLA-restricted immune diseases should be possible.