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Limit of T cell tolerance to self proteins by peptide presentation

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Science  30 Mar 1990:
Vol. 247, Issue 4950, pp. 1587-1589
DOI: 10.1126/science.2321019

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Abstract

Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) recognize foreign peptides bound to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules. MHC molecules can also bind endogenous self peptides, to which T cells are tolerant. Normal mice contained CTLs specific for self peptides that were from proteins of ubiquitous or tissue-restricted expression. In vivo, these endogenous self peptides are not naturally presented in sufficient density by somatic cells expressing MHC class I molecules. They can, however, be presented if added exogenously. Thus, our data imply that CTLs are only tolerant of those endogenous self peptide sequences that are presented by MHC class I-positive cells in a physiological manner.