J Dal Porto, TE Johansen, B Catipović, DJ Parfiit, D Tuveson, U Gether, S Kozlowski, DT Fearon, JP Schneck
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
Genetically engineered or chemically purified soluble monovalent major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules, which have previously been used to study T cells, have not blocked cytotoxic T-cell responses. Here we describe a genetically engineered divalent class I MHC molecule which inhibits lysis of target cells by alloreactive cytotoxic T cells. This protein, H-2Kb/IgG, was generated as a fusion protein between the extracellular domains of a murine class I polypeptide, H-2Kb, and an immunoglobulin heavy chain polypeptide. The chimeric protein has serological and biochemical characteristics of both the MHC and IgG polypeptides. Nanomolar concentrations of H-2Kb/IgG inhibited lysis of H-2Kb-expressing target cells not only by alloreactive H-2Kb-specific T-cell clones but also by alloreactive H-2Kb-specific primary T-cell cultures. A direct binding assay showed high-affinity binding between the H-2Kb/IgG molecule and an H-2Kb-specific alloreactive T-cell clone. Unlabeled H-2Kb/IgG displaced 125I-labeled H-2Kb/IgG from T cells with an IC50 of 1.2 nM.