Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

Publications geoffrey-butcher

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Crystal structures of two rat MHC class Ia (RT1-A) molecules that are associated differentially with peptide transporter alleles TAP-A and TAP-B.
Rudolph MG, Stevens J, Speir JA, Trowsdale J, Butcher GW, Joly E, Wilson IA

Antigenic peptides are loaded onto class I MHC molecules in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) by a complex consisting of the MHC class I heavy chain, beta(2)-microglobulin, calreticulin, tapasin, Erp57 (ER60) and the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP). While most mammalian species transport these peptides into the ER via a single allele of TAP, rats have evolved different TAPs, TAP-A and TAP-B, that are present in different inbred strains. Each TAP delivers a different spectrum of peptides and is associated genetically with distinct subsets of MHC class Ia alleles, but the molecular basis for the conservation (or co-evolution) of the two transporter alleles is unknown. We have determined the crystal structures of a representative of each MHC subset, viz RT1-A(a) and RT1-A1(c), in association with high-affinity nonamer peptides. The structures reveal how the chemical properties of the two different rat MHC F-pockets match those of the corresponding C termini of the peptides, corroborating biochemical data on the rates of peptide-MHC complex assembly. An unusual sequence in RT1-A1(c) leads to a major deviation from the highly conserved beta(3)/alpha(1) loop (residues 40-59) conformation in mouse and human MHC class I structures. This loop change contributes to profound changes in the shape of the A-pocket in the peptide-binding groove and may explain the function of RT1-A1(c) as an inhibitory natural killer cell ligand.

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Journal of molecular biology, 324, 0022-2836, 975-90, 2002

PMID: 12470953

Rat natural killer cell receptor systems and recognition of MHC class I molecules.
Rolstad B, Naper C, Løvik G, Vaage JT, Ryan JC, Bäckman-Petersson E, Kirsch RD, Butcher GW

Rat natural killer (NK) cells recognize MHC-I molecules encoded by both the classical (RT1-A) and non-classical (RT1-C/E/M) MHC class I (MHC-I) regions. We have identified a receptor, the STOK2 antigen, which belongs to the Ly-49 family of killer cell lectin-like receptors, and we have localized the gene encoding it to the rat natural killer cell gene complex. We have also shown that it inhibits NK cytotoxicity when recognizing its cognate MHC-I ligand RT1-A1c on a target cell. This is the first inhibitory Ly-49-MHC-I interaction identified in the rat and highlights the great similarity between rat and mouse Ly-49 receptors and their MHC ligands. However, the mode of rat NK-cell recognition of target cells indicates that positive recognition of allo-MHC determinants, especially those encoded by the RT1-C/E/M region, is a prevalent feature. NK cells recruited to the peritoneum as a consequence of alloimmunization display positive recognition of allodeterminants. In one case, NK cells activated in this way have been shown to be specific for the immunizing, non-classical class I molecule RT1-Eu. These findings show that allospecific NK cells sometimes show features reminiscent of the adaptive immune response.

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Immunological reviews, 181, 0105-2896, 149-57, 2001

PMID: 11513136

Peptide binding characteristics of the non-classical class Ib MHC molecule HLA-E assessed by a recombinant random peptide approach.
Stevens J, Joly E, Trowsdale J, Butcher GW

Increasing evidence suggests that the effect of HLA-E on Natural Killer (NK) cell activity can be affected by the nature of the peptides bound to this non-classical, MHC class Ib molecule. However, its reduced cell surface expression, and until recently, the lack of specific monoclonal antibodies hinder studying the peptide-binding specificity HLA-E.

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BMC immunology, 2, 1471-2172, 5, 2001

PMID: 11432755

Open Access

Rat tapasin: cDNA cloning and identification as a component of the class I MHC assembly complex.
Deverson EV, Powis SJ, Morrice NA, Herberg JA, Trowsdale J, Butcher GW

During the assembly of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules transient associations are formed with the endoplasmic reticulum resident chaperones calnexin and calreticulin, ERp57 oxidoreductase, and also with tapasin, the latter mediating binding of the class I molecules to the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP). We report here the isolation of a cDNA encoding rat tapasin from a DA (RT1av1) library. The cDNA encodes a proline-rich (11.3%) polypeptide of 464 residues with a potential ER-retention KK motif at its COOH-terminus, and a predicted molecular mass of 48 kDa. Matrix-assisted laser-desorption ionisation (MALDI) mass spectrometry of peptides derived from in-gel tryptic digestion of a TAP-associated protein match regions of the predicted translation product. A species of the correct molecular mass and predicted pl was also identified in association with radiolabelled immunoprecipitates of the rat TAP complex analysed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. This confirms rat tapasin as a component of the rat MHC class I assembly complex.

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Genes and immunity, 2, 1466-4879, 48-51, 2001

PMID: 11294569

Two different, highly exposed, bulged structures for an unusually long peptide bound to rat MHC class I RT1-Aa.
Speir JA, Stevens J, Joly E, Butcher GW, Wilson IA

The rat MHC class Ia molecule RT1-Aa has the unusual capacity to bind long peptides ending in arginine, such as MTF-E, a thirteen-residue, maternally transmitted minor histocompatibility antigen. The antigenic structure of MTF-E was unpredictable due to its extraordinary length and two arginines that could serve as potential anchor residues. The crystal structure of RT1-Aa-MTF-E at 2.55 A shows that both peptide termini are anchored, as in other class I molecules, but the central residues in two independent pMHC complexes adopt completely different bulged conformations based on local environment. The MTF-E epitope is fully exposed within the putative T cell receptor (TCR) footprint. The flexibility demonstrated by the MTF-E structures illustrates how different TCRs may be raised against chemically identical, but structurally dissimilar, pMHC complexes.

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Immunity, 14, 1074-7613, 81-92, 2001

PMID: 11163232

Open Access

Peptide specificity of RT1-A1(c), an inhibitory rat major histocompatibility complex class I natural killer cell ligand.
Stevens J, Jones RC, Bordoli RS, Trowsdale J, Gaskell SJ, Butcher GW, Joly E

The rat major histocompatibility complex class Ia allelomorph RT1-A1(c) is a potent ligand for the recently identified inhibitory rLy-49 receptor, STOK-2. With the ultimate objective of studying the interactions of these molecules using structural and functional methods, we undertook a detailed study of its peptide specificity. The study revealed that designing an "ideal peptide" by choosing the most abundant residues in the "binding motif" obtained by pool sequencing does not necessarily yield an optimal binding peptide. For RT1-A1(c), as many as four positions, P2, P4, P5, and P9, were detected as putative anchors. Since this molecule displays a preference for highly hydrophobic peptides, we tested binding of peptides derived from the known leader peptide sequences of other rat histocompatibility complex class I molecules. One such peptide, found to bind well, requiring 1.6 microm peptide to achieve 50% stabilization, was searched for in vivo. Natural RT1-A1(c) binding peptides were purified from rat splenocytes and characterized by mass spectrometry using a combined matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization/time-of-flight and quadrupole time-of-flight approach. Results showed that the signal sequence-derived peptide was not detectable in the purified peptide pool, which was composed of a complex spectrum of peptides. Seven of these self-peptides were successfully sequenced.

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The Journal of biological chemistry, 275, 0021-9258, 29217-24, 2000

PMID: 10856297

Open Access

Self-MHC class Ia (RT1-A(n)) protects cells co-expressing the activatory allogeneic MHC class Ib molecule (RT1-E(u)) from NK lysis.
Bäckman-Petersson E, Butcher GW, Hedlund G

We have previously shown activation of NK cells via recognition of an allogeneic, non-classical MHC class I molecule, RT1-E(u). In this study we investigated whether a self-MHC class I molecule could protect the allogeneic targets from being recognized and killed by the alloreactive NK (allo NK) cells. NK cells from BN (RT1 n) rats, primed in vivo by immunization with RT1(u)-expressing cells, manifested cytolytic activity against RT1(u)- as well as RT1(u/lv1)-expressing targets, but not against RT1(u/n)-expressing targets. The absence of cytolytic activity against semiallogeneic targets, i.e. targets expressing self-allotypes, was also valid for allo NK cells from alloimmunized F344 (RT1 (lv1)) rats. To analyze the ability of a distinct MHC class I molecule to protect target cells from NK lysis, Rat2 cells transfected with the activating allogeneic MHC class Ib, RT1-E(u) molecule were also transfected with the self-MHC class Ia, RT1-A1(n) molecule. The allo NK cells from BN rats immunized with RT1(u)-expressing cells were cytolytic against Rat2 transfected with the RT1-E(u) molecule. However, the allo NK cells manifested no cytolytic activity against double-transfected Rat2 cells, expressing the RT1-E(u) as well as the RT1-A1(n) molecule. We conclude that expression of a self-MHC class Ia (RT1-A) molecule protects targets from allo NK killing. Furthermore, the NK inhibition via recognition of the self-MHC class Ia molecule dominates over the activation via recognition of the allogeneic MHC class Ib molecule, RT1-E.

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International immunology, 12, 0953-8178, 843-50, 2000

PMID: 10837412

Open Access

A panel of monoclonal antibodies to ovine placental lactogen.
Forsyth IA, Hutchings A, Butcher GW

A panel of 11 rat monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) has been raised to ovine placental lactogen (PL). By competitive enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay (ELISA), confirmed by two-site ELISA, the antibodies were shown to recognize six antigenic determinants on the ovine PL molecule, two of which overlap. One antigenic determinant (designated 1) was shared by other members of the prolactin/growth hormone (GH)/PL family in ruminants, humans and rodents. The binding of (125)I-labelled ovine PL to crude receptor preparations from sheep liver (somatotrophic) or rabbit mammary gland (lactogenic) was inhibited by mAbs recognizing antigenic determinants 2-6. Both types of receptor preparation were affected similarly. In the local in vivo pigeon crop sac assay, mAbs directed against determinants 3 and 6 enhanced the biological activity of ovine PL.

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The Journal of endocrinology, 165, 0022-0795, 435-42, 2000

PMID: 10810307

Open Access

Analysis of peptide length preference of the rat MHC class Ia molecule RT1-A(u), by a modified random peptide library approach.
Stevens J, Wiesmüller KH, Butcher GW, Joly E

Using random peptide libraries we have previously shown that both mouse and rat class I molecules can exhibit different peptide length preferences. Such studies required expression of the particular class I molecules in RMA-S, a cell line deficient in the transporter associated with antigen presentation (TAP). For another rat class I molecule called RT1-A(u), however, we found that expression in RMA-S was poor and could not be increased sufficiently by incubation at 26 degrees C. To circumvent this problem we performed our studies on C58, a rat cell line that expresses RT1-A(u) naturally in the presence of a functional TAP transporter. Using C58 cells, cell-surface-expressed class I molecules were 'stripped' of peptides and beta(2)-microglobulin by washing the cells with an acidic citrate buffer (pH 3.3). Peptide stabilization assays, assessed by FACS analysis, were then performed using either specific peptides or synthetic random peptide libraries of different lengths (7-15 amino acids), supplemented with recombinant rat beta(2)-microglobulin. As a positive control an RT1-A(u)-specific nonamer peptide was designed using the previously determined peptide binding motif and this was found to bind to RT1-A(u) at nanomolar concentrations. Both length preference and importance of free N- and C-termini were tested using free base, formylated and acetylated peptide libraries. Results showed that RT1-A(u) was not able to accommodate N- or C-terminally blocked peptides but displayed a preference for peptides of 9-12 amino acids, similar to the preference observed for the RT1-A1(c) allotype, the other rat TAP-B-associated molecule tested thus far. These results suggest that length preference remains a consideration to explain the allelic class I-TAP associations of the RT1-A region.

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International immunology, 12, 0953-8178, 83-9, 2000

PMID: 10607753

Open Access

Activation and selection of NK cells via recognition of an allogeneic, non-classical MHC class I molecule, RT1-E.
Petersson E, Holmdahl R, Butcher GW, Hedlund G

Previous studies have established that NK cells express both inhibitory and activatory receptors. The inhibitory receptors have been shown to recognize major MHC class I molecules, but the physiological ligands for the activatory receptors have been only partly characterized. In this study we investigated whether NK cells could be activated by recognizing specific non-classical MHC class Ib molecules. NK cells from BN (RT1(n)) rats immunized in vivo with MHC-incompatible WF (RT1(u)) cells displayed cytolytic activity specific for product(s) of the MHC class Ib RT1-E(u) / C(u) region. These cells were shown to kill Rat2 fibroblast cells transfected with cDNA for RT1-E(u) but neither untransfected Rat2 nor a transfectant with the class Ia allele, RT1-A(u). Cytolysis of Rat2-RT1-E(u) was inhibited by the anti-RT1-E(u) antibody 70-3-C2. In addition, NK cells cytolytic against PVG (RT1(c)) targets, but not against WF (RT1(u)) or other allogeneic targets were activated after PVG immunization of BN rats. The generation of NK populations cytolytic for target cells of the same haplotype as the immunizing cells, but not for third-party targets, strongly suggests the existence of a selective NK-mediated response in vivo. We conclude that recognition of an allogeneic MHC class Ib RT1-E molecule activates NK cells and the specific cytolytic response could be regarded as adaptive.

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European journal of immunology, 29, 0014-2980, 3663-73, 1999

PMID: 10556822

Natural killing of xenogeneic cells mediated by the mouse Ly-49D receptor.
Nakamura MC, Naper C, Niemi EC, Spusta SC, Rolstad B, Butcher GW, Seaman WE, Ryan JC

NK lymphocytes lyse certain xenogeneic cells without prior sensitization. The receptors by which NK cells recognize xenogeneic targets are largely uncharacterized but have been postulated to possess broad specificity against ubiquitous target ligands. However, previous studies suggest that mouse NK cells recognize xenogeneic targets in a strain-specific manner, implicating finely tuned, complex receptor systems in NK xenorecognition. We speculated that mouse Ly-49D, an activating NK receptor for the MHC I ligand, H2-Dd, might display public specificities for xenogeneic target structures. To test this hypothesis, we examined the lysis of xenogeneic targets by mouse Ly-49D transfectants of the rat NK cell line RNK-16 (RNK. Ly-49D). Of the xenogeneic tumor targets tested, RNK.Ly-49D, but not untransfected RNK-16, preferentially lysed tumor cells derived from Chinese hamsters and lymphoblast targets from rats. Ly-49D-dependent recognition of Chinese hamster cells was independent of target N-linked glycosylation. Mouse Ly-49D also specifically stimulated the natural killing of lymphoblast targets derived from wild-type and MHC-congenic rats of the RT1lv1 and RT1l haplotypes, but not of the RT1c, RT1u, RT1av1, or RT1n haplotypes. These studies demonstrate that Ly-49D can specifically mediate cytotoxicity against xenogeneic cells, and they suggest that Ly-49D may recognize xenogeneic MHC-encoded ligands.

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Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 163, 0022-1767, 4694-700, 1999

PMID: 10528166

Open Access

Genes in two major histocompatibility complex class I regions control selection, phenotype, and function of a rat Ly-49 natural killer cell subset.
Naper C, Ryan JC, Kirsch R, Butcher GW, Rolstad B, Vaage JT

We have generated a monoclonal antibody (STOK2) which reacts with an inhibitory MHC receptor on a subset of alloreactive NK cells in the rat. This receptor, termed the STOK2 antigen (Ag), belongs to the Ly-49 family of lectin-like molecules and displays specificity for the classical MHC class I molecule RT1-A1c of PVG rats. Here, we have investigated the influence of the MHC on the selection, phenotype and function of the STOK2+ NK subset in a panel of MHC congenic and intra-MHC recombinant strains. STOK2 receptor density was influenced by the presence of its classical MHC I ligand RT1-A1c, as evidenced by a reduction of STOK2 Ag on the surface of NK cells from RT1-A1c+, as compared with RT1-A1c-, strains. In addition, a role for nonclassical MHC I RT1-C/E/M alleles in the selection of the STOK2 Ag was demonstrated. The relative number of STOK2+ NK cells was fivefold higher in rats expressing the RT1-C/E/M(av1) as compared with those expressing the RT1-C/E/M(u) class Ib haplotype. The STOK2 ligand RT1-A1c inhibited cytotoxicity of STOK2+ NK cells regardless of effector cell MHC haplotype. Allospecificity of STOK2+ NK cells varied markedly with effector cell MHC, however, and suggested that inhibitory MHC I receptors apart from STOK2 were variably co-expressed by these cells. These data provide evidence for the MHC-dependent regulation of the allospecific repertoire within a subset of potentially autoreactive Ly-49+ rat NK cells.

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European journal of immunology, 29, 0014-2980, 2046-53, 1999

PMID: 10382768

The lymphopenia mutation of the BB rat causes inappropriate apoptosis of mature thymocytes.
G Hernández-Hoyos, S Joseph, NG Miller, GW Butcher

BB rats develop autoimmune diabetes mellitus at a high frequency. A key factor in the development of the disease is an autosomal recessive mutation determining peripheral T cell lymphocytopenia. Previous studies have suggested that the lymphopenia could be caused by increased cell death. Here we demonstrate that the lyp mutation dramatically reduces the in vitro lifespan of the TCRhi single-positive thymocytes and peripheral T cells, without abolishing their capacity to proliferate. The reduced lifespan is due to an increased rate of apoptosis, and is detected in single-positive thymocytes displaying characteristics of cells which have undergone positive selection. The cell death defect does not affect the in vitro lifespan of peripheral B cells. Interestingly, stimulation can rescue peripheral lyp/lyp T cells from immediate cell death. We propose that the lymphopenia mutation prevents the accumulation of a normal T cell pool, including regulatory subsets, without preventing the activation and proliferation of reactive T cells, thereby creating conditions appropriate for the development of uncontrolled autoimmune responses.

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European journal of immunology, 29, 6, 1832-41, 1999

PMID: 10382745
DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1521-4141(199906)29:063.0.CO;2-F