Long-term human coronavirus-myelin cross-reactive T-cell clones derived from multiple sclerosis patients

Clin Immunol. 2007 Jun;123(3):258-67. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2007.02.002. Epub 2007 Apr 19.


Autoimmune reactions associated with MS involve genetic and environmental factors. Because murine coronaviruses induce an MS-like disease, the human coronaviruses (HCoV) are attractive candidates as environmental factors involved in a demyelinating pathology. We previously reported the isolation of HCoV-229E/myelin basic protein (MBP) cross-reactive T-cell lines (TCL) in MS patients. To investigate antigenic cross-reactivity at the molecular level, 155 long-term T-cell clones (TCC) were derived from 32 MS patients by in vitro selection with MBP, proteolipid protein (PLP) or HCoV (strains 229E and OC43). Overall, 114 TCC were virus-specific, 31 were specific for myelin Ag and 10 other were HCoV/myelin cross-reactive. Twenty-eight virus-specific TCC and 7 myelin-specific TCC were obtained from six healthy donors. RACE RT-PCR amplification of the Vbeta chains of five of ten the cross-reactive TCC confirmed clonality and sequencing identified the CDR3 region associated with cross-reactivity. Our findings have promising implications in the investigation of the role of molecular mimicry between coronaviruses and myelin in MS as a mechanism related to disease initiation or relapses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Clone Cells / cytology
  • Clone Cells / immunology
  • Coronavirus / immunology*
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / immunology
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / immunology
  • Myelin Basic Protein / immunology
  • Myelin Proteolipid Protein / immunology
  • Myelin Sheath / immunology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • T-Cell Antigen Receptor Specificity / genetics
  • T-Cell Antigen Receptor Specificity / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Time Factors


  • Antigens, Viral
  • Epitopes
  • Myelin Basic Protein
  • Myelin Proteolipid Protein
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta