While direct allorecognition underpins both solid organ allograft rejection and tolerance induction, the specific molecular targets of most directly alloreactive CD8+ T cells have not been defined. In this study, we used a combination of genetically engineered major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC I) constructs, mice with a hepatocyte-specific mutation in the class I antigen-presentation pathway, and immunopeptidomic analysis to provide definitive evidence for the contribution of the peptide cargo of allogeneic MHC I molecules to transplant tolerance induction. We established a systematic approach for the discovery of directly recognized pMHC epitopes and identified 17 strongly immunogenic H-2Kb–associated peptides recognized by CD8+ T cells from B10.BR (H-2k) mice, 13 of which were also recognized by BALB/c (H-2d) mice. As few as 5 different tetramers used together were able to identify a high proportion of alloreactive T cells within a polyclonal population, suggesting that there are immunodominant allogeneic MHC-peptide complexes that can account for a large component of the alloresponse.
Eric T. Son, Pouya Faridi, Moumita Paul-Heng, Mario L. Leong, Kieran English, Sri H. Ramarathinam, Asolina Braun, Nadine L. Dudek, Ian E. Alexander, Leszek Lisowski, Patrick Bertolino, David G. Bowen, Anthony W. Purcell, Nicole A. Mifsud, Alexandra F. Sharland