Infection with HIV-1 occasionally results in a sicca syndrome, termed the diffuse infiltrative lymphocytosis syndrome, characterized by infiltration of the salivary glands with a predominance of CD8 T cells. This response is strongly associated with certain MHC class I and class II alleles. To define the salivary gland T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire, the primary structure of the TCR beta-chains was determined using in situ cDNA synthesis followed by the "anchored" polymerase chain reaction. The sequences of 59 beta-chains from five individuals with diffuse infiltrative lymphocytosis syndrome shared structural features suggesting antigenic clonal selection. Certain combinations of V beta J beta gene segments were selectively overrepresented in the repertoire sample, demonstrating a common restricted usage of certain V beta and J beta gene segments. The beta-chains derived from these overrepresented V beta J beta combinations revealed a preference for specific amino acids at position 97 in the third complementarity-determining region, a residue postulated to contact peptide antigen. Moreover, the nucleotides encoding this position were not germline in origin. TCR beta-chains in nonoverrepresented V beta J beta combinations did not exhibit preferential usage of selected somatically encoded residues. The pattern of TCR beta-chains expressed in the salivary gland of a control person with primary Sjögren's syndrome was considerably more heterogeneous and different from that found in diffuse infiltrative lymphocytosis syndrome.
E Dwyer, S Itescu, R Winchester