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The specific T-cell response to antigenic peptides is influenced by bystander peptides


T lymphocytes recognize antigens in the form of peptides presented by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules on the cell surface. Only a small proportion of MHC class I and class II molecules are loaded with foreign antigenic peptides; the vast majority are loaded with thousands of different self peptides. It was suggested that MHC molecules presenting self peptides may serve either to decrease (antagonistic effect) or increase (synergistic effect) the T cell response to a specific antigen. Here, we present our finding that transfected mouse fibroblasts presenting a single antigenic peptide covalently bound to a class II MHC molecule stimulated specific mouse T cell hybridoma cells to an interleukin-2 response less efficiently than fibroblasts presenting a similar amount of antigenic peptide in the presence of class II molecules loaded with heterogenous bystander peptides.



fibroblasts transfected with wild-type Ab class II MHC molecule


fibroblasts transfected with Ab molecule with linked Ep

Abwt + AbEp:

double transfectant fibroblasts


peptide 52-68 from the Eα class II MHC chain


fluorescein-activated cell sorter


major histocompatibility complex


(3-[4,5 dimethylthiazol-2-lyl]-2,5 diphenyl tetrazolium bromide


T cell receptor


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Correspondence to Piotr Kuśnierczyk.

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Nowak, I., Pajtasz-Piasecka, E., Chmielowski, B. et al. The specific T-cell response to antigenic peptides is influenced by bystander peptides. Cell. Mol. Biol. Lett. 11, 70–79 (2006).

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Key Words

  • Bystander peptide
  • T cell response
  • Transfectants
  • Mouse model