The role of T-lymphocytes as antigen-presenting cells (APCs) for other T cells was investigated. Activated rabies-virus-specific human T-cell clones were shown to present peptide to class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-restricted T cells of a different fine specificity, resulting in lymphokine production and cell proliferation. Furthermore, purified and activated antigen-specific T cells could produce lymphokines and proliferate as a result of the addition of antigenic peptide in the absence of APC. The functional response of T cells to peptide in the absence of APC was amplified by the addition of phorbol ester (PMA) and was inhibited with antibodies specific to class II MHC or to the CD2 molecule. Experiments performed in single-cell suspension cultures using semisolid medium prepared with 1% agar demonstrate that T-cell proliferative and lymphokine responses to peptide both in the presence and absence of APC require the interaction of T-cell antigen receptor (TCR) molecules with class II MHC-peptide complexes on different cell surfaces (Cell-cell contact). On the other hand, peptide self-presentation, which occurs by the binding of TCR with class II MHC-peptide complexes on the same cell surface (at the single-cell level), resulted in T-cell activation (i.e., high expression of surface CD2, CD25, and HLA-DR molecules), without proliferation or lymphokine secretion, a pattern observed in the induction of T-cell energy by antigen. The results are discussed in terms of the role of class II MHC molecules on activated T-lymphocytes, which enable these cells to function as "professional APC" in the development of T-cell regulatory networks.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy