Peptide-MHC potency governs dynamic interactions between T cells and dendritic cells in lymph nodes

Nat Immunol. 2007 Aug;8(8):835-44. doi: 10.1038/ni1490. Epub 2007 Jul 15.


T cells survey antigen-presenting dendritic cells (DCs) by migrating through DC networks, arresting and maintaining contact with DCs for several hours after encountering high-potency complexes of peptide and major histocompatibility complex (pMHC), leading to T cell activation. The effects of low-potency pMHC complexes on T cells in vivo, however, are unknown, as is the mechanism controlling T cell arrest. Here we evaluated T cell responses in vivo to high-, medium- and low-potency pMHC complexes and found that regardless of potency, pMHC complexes induced upregulation of CD69, anergy and retention of T cells in lymph nodes. However, only high-potency pMHC complexes expressed by DCs induced calcium-dependent T cell deceleration and calcineurin-dependent anergy. The pMHC complexes of lower potency instead induced T cell anergy by a biochemically distinct process that did not affect T cell dynamics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation / immunology*
  • Cell Communication / immunology*
  • Clonal Anergy
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Lymph Nodes / cytology
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Peptides / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Peptides