T cells against a bacterial heat shock protein recognize stressed macrophages

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Science  08 Sep 1989:
Vol. 245, Issue 4922, pp. 1112-1115
DOI: 10.1126/science.2788923


Heat shock proteins are evolutionarily highly conserved polypeptides that are produced under a variety of stress conditions to preserve cellular functions. A major antigen of tubercle bacilli of 65 kilodaltons is a heat shock protein that has significant sequence similarity and cross-reactivity with antigens of various other microbes. Monoclonal antibodies against this common bacterial heat shock protein were used to identify a molecule of similar size in murine macrophages. Macrophages subjected to various stress stimuli including interferon-gamma activation and viral infection were recognized by class I-restricted CD8 T cells raised against the bacterial heat shock protein. These data suggest that heat shock proteins are processed in stressed host cells and that epitopes shared by heat shock proteins of bacterial and host origin are presented in the context of class I molecules.

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