Tolerance and MHC restriction in transgenic mice expressing a MHC class I gene in erythroid cells

H. Yeoman, A. L. Mellor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Transgenic mice carrying a MHC class I structural gene (H-2Kb) linked to transcriptional control elements from the human β-globln gene, which direct erythroid lineage specific transcription, express H-2Kb molecules In red blood cells but H-2Kb expression cannot be detected in skin or lymphoid cells. This limited pattern of self MHC expression is sufficient to Induce tolerance to H-2Kb molecules and H-2Kb restricted cytotoxic T cell responses can be generated in transgenic mice. Transgenic mice are unable to mount H-2Kb specific cytotoxic T cell responses in vitro, even when exogenous IL-2 is provided. However, H-2Kb specific T cell proliferative responses are comparable with H-2Kb specific responses in non-transgenic mice, even in the absence of exogenous IL-2. Thus, expression of H-2Kb molecules under control of human β-globln transcriptional control elements In transgenic mice is tolerogenlc but does not result in elimination of all H-2Kb reactive T cells from the mature repertoire. This suggests that tolerance In these mice may arise due to functional inactivation of H-2Kb reactive T cells in vivo when they encounter H-2Kb molecules expressed on cells of erythroid cell lineages or on non-erythroid cells which express H-2Kb molecules at very low levels or in a developmentally regulated pattern. Furthermore, In spite of the failure to detect H-2Kb expression on non-erythrold cells In these mice, we conclude that H-2Kb molecules participate In positive selection of the T cell repertoire since H-2Kb restricted T cell responses can be generated in these transgenic mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-65
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992


  • Erythroid cells
  • MHC restriction
  • Tolerance
  • Transgenic mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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