Despite poor presentation of measles virus (MV) nucleoprotein (NP) by MHC class II of infected cells, NP-specific antibodies are one of the hallmarks of the early immune response against this virus. To study the influence of antibodies on processing and presentation of NP to three different T cell hybridomas, mAb recognizing distinctive linear NP epitopes were developed. Two T cell hybridomas TNP408B and TNP408 reacted with the same core epitope of NP (amino acids 383-391), but differed in their sensitivity to the flanking sequences of peptides containing this epitope. TNP408B reacted with minimal concentrations of NP when this was complexed with mAb BNP146. NP alone or saturating concentrations of other mAb did not activate this T cell. Both T cells, TNP408 and TNP408B, were similar in their sensitivity to NP in the presence of saturating concentrations of BNP146 or of appropriate peptide (NP379). TNP408 did not differ from another T cell hybridoma (TNP79) in its sensitivity to different mAb, suggesting a specificity-dependent and a specificity-independent effect of mAb. Antibody-mediated activation was attributed to FcR-mediated uptake independent of the fine specificity of the mAb. In the case of TNP408B, this effect was further enhanced by a specific effect of BNP146. While all NP-specific mAb were sufficient to enhance presentation to TNP408 and TNP79 of their respective peptides derived from processed NP, BNP146 was necessary to generate the peptides with the proper flanking sequences required by TNP408B. Since the binding site of BNP146 coincides with the T cell epitope of TNP408B (and TNP408) it is suggested that binding of this mAb modulates processing of the flanking sequences of the peptides corresponding to this epitope. This study shows that antibodies can influence the T cell response to an antigenic protein quantitatively and qualitatively by taking advantage of the sensitivity of T cells to flanking sequences of class II-restricted peptides.
- Measles virus