Target specificity of an autoreactive pathogenic human γδ-T cell receptor in myositis

Jessica Bruder, Katherina Siewert, Birgit Obermeier, Joachim Malotka, Peter Scheinert, Josef Kellermann, Takuya Ueda, Reinhard Hohlfeld, Klaus Dornmair*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


In polymyositis and inclusion body myositis, muscle fibers are surrounded and invaded by CD8-positive cytotoxic T cells expressing the αβ-T cell receptor (αβ-TCR) for antigen. In a rare variant of myositis, muscle fibers are similarly attacked by CD8-negative T cells expressing the γδ-TCR (γδ-T cell-mediated myositis). We investigated the antigen specificity of a human γδ-TCR previously identified in an autoimmune tissue lesion of γδ-T cell-mediated myositis. We show that this Vγ1.3Vδ2-TCR, termed M88, recognizes various proteins from different species. Several of these proteins belong to the translational apparatus, including some bacterial and human aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (AA-RS). Specifically, M88 recognizes histidyl-tRNA synthetase, an antigen known to be also targeted by autoantibodies called anti-Jo-1. The M88 target epitope is strictly conformational, independent of post-translational modification, and exposed on the surface of the respective antigenic protein. Extensive mutagenesis of the translation initiation factor-1 from Escherichia coli (EcIF1), which served as a paradigm antigen with known structure, showed that a short α-helical loop around amino acids 39 to 42 of EcIF1 is a major part of the M88 epitope. Mutagenesis of M88 showed that the complementarity determining regions 3 of both γδ-TCR chains contribute to antigen recognition. M88 is the only known example of a molecularly characterized γδ-TCR expressed by autoaggressive T cells in tissue. The observation that AA-RS are targeted by a γδ-T cell and by autoantibodies reveals an unexpected link between T cell and antibody responses in autoimmune myositis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20986-20995
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jun 15
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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