Myasthenia gravis: T epitopes on the δ subunit of human muscle acetylcholine receptor

Maria Pia Protti, Angelo A. Manfredi, Xiao Dong Wu, Lucia Moiola, James F. Howard, Bianca M. Conti-Tronconi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Autoimmune T cell lines specific for muscle nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) were propagated from the blood of three myasthenia gravis patients by the use of a pool of synthetic peptides (δ-pool) corresponding to the complete sequence of the δ-subunit of human muscle AChR. Propagation of AChR-specific T cell lines was attempted unsuccessfully from four other myasthenia gravis patients and from four healthy controls. The lines had CD3+, CD4+, CD8- phenotype, strongly recognized the δ-pool, and cross-reacted vigorously with non-denatured AChR purified from mammalian muscle. They did not cross-react detectably with pools of similar overlapping synthetic peptides corresponding to the complete sequences of the α- and γ-subunits of human muscle AChR. The sequence segments of the δ-subunit that contain T epitopes were identified by investigating the response of the three CD4+ T cell lines to the individual synthetic peptides forming the δ-pool. Each line had an individual pattern of peptide recognition. Although no immunodominant region, recognized in association with different DR haplotypes, could be identified, the sequence segments most strongly recognized by the CD4+ T cell lines were clustered within residues 121-290. One of the peptides more strongly recognized by the T cells corresponded to a sequence segment with high predicted propensity to form an amphipathic α-helix, a structural motif proposed to be typical of T epitopes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2253-2261
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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