Effect of the expression of a hepatocyte-specific MHC molecule in transgenic mice on T cell tolerance

Sharon L. Jones-Youngblood, Kim Wieties, James Morse Forman D.M.D/Ph.D., Robert E Hammer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


A hybrid murine class I gene, Q10/L, was injected into C3H/HeJ fertilized ova to produce transgenic (TG) mice. This fusion gene contained 414 bp of Q10 promoter sequences which was sufficient to direct liver-specific expression in two lines of animals. Animals from these lines did not have Q10/L mRNA in 10 nonhepatic tissues examined including thymus, spleen, and bone marrow. The ontogeny of Q10/L(d) expression in both liver and yolk sac paralleled expression of endogenous Q10. Analysis of liver cells from these lines by flow cytometry and immunofluorescence demonstrated the presence of the Q10/L Ag solely on hepatocytes. TG animals showed no signs of hepatic disease as evidenced by an absence of cellular infiltrates in the liver and a normal profile of serum enzymes that are elevated in association with hepatic disease. When spleen cells from TG animals were cocultured with splenocytes that express Ag cross-reactive with Q10/L, CTL were generated that recognized and lysed L cells which express Q10/L. However, the extent of lysis was less than that generated from non-TG control littermates. That these cross-reactive T cells were physiologically significant was demonstrated by adoptive transfer of in vivo primed T cell enriched spleen cells which produced a mononuclear infiltration of the liver of TG recipients. However, inoculation of Q10/L L cells or splenocytes expressing Q10/L cross-reactive Ag into TG mice did not induce cellular infiltration or overt hepatic disease. Whereas inoculation of normal C3H mice with these cells led to priming of Q10/L reactive CTL, anti-Q10/L CTL could not be primed in TG mice. This suggests that Ag expression solely on hepatocytes can lead to inactivation of specific CTL clones and thus account for the observed in vivo tolerance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1187-1195
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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