T Cell Activation by Lipopeptide Antigens

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Science  23 Jan 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5657, pp. 527-531
DOI: 10.1126/science.1089353

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Unlike major histocompatibility proteins, which bind peptides, CD1 proteins display lipid antigens to T cells. Here, we report that CD1a presents a family of previously unknown lipopeptides from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, named didehydroxymycobactins because of their structural relation to mycobactin siderophores. T cell activation was mediated by the αβ T cell receptors and was specific for structure of the acyl and peptidic components of these antigens. These studies identify a means of intracellular pathogen detection and identify lipopeptides as a biochemical class of antigens for T cells, which, like conventional peptides, have a potential for marked structural diversity.

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