T-cell receptor-derived peptides in immunoregulation and therapy of retrovirally induced immunosuppression

John J. Marchalonis, Ian F. Robey, Allen B. Edmundson, R. Tomas Sepulveda, Ronald R. Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Retrovirally infected humans and mice showed progressive acquired immunodeficiency accompanied by the production of elevated levels of autoantibodies directed against T-cell receptor variable-domain epitopes. Epitope mapping analyses indicated that a major determinant recognized was defined by a 16-mer peptide containing the entire CDR1 segment and part of the FR2 region of human Vβ8, and that both species showed reactivity to the same sequence. Either prophylactic or therapeutic administration of this peptide to retrovirus-infected C57/BL/6 mice normalized the balance of TH1- and TH2-type helper activity and restored the resistance to infection by the opportunistic parasite Cryptosporidium. Administration of the peptide did not generate significantly increased levels of autoantibody, but had a profound effect on T-cell activity as well as other aspects of inflammation, including NK-cell activity. A 16-met derived from the Jβ sequence showed similar functional effects on T cells from retrovirus-infected mice. Direct binding of the VβCDR1 peptide to recombinant TCR Vα/Vβ constructs, as well as to IgM natural autoantibodies, suggests that the cell surface receptor for the peptide is the α/β TCR on T cells and surface IgM in B cells. The Vβ CDR1 peptide stimulated division of murine splenocytes in vitro, stimulated the production of the TH1 cytokine IL-2, and synergized with the T-cell mitogen concanavalin A in proliferation and IL-2 production. These studies indicate that administration of peptides derived from T-cell receptor variable domains to animals immunosuppressed as a result of retroviral infection has a profound immunomodulatory effect enhancing overall T-cell functional capacity, particularly with respect to the cytokine production characteristic of TH1-type cells. Our studies are interpreted in the context of other recent investigations of immunomodulatory peptides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-74
Number of pages18
JournalCritical Reviews in Immunology
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 2001


  • AIDS
  • Aging
  • Cytokines
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Peptide therapy
  • T1
  • T2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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