Minor histocompatibility antigens (mHAgs) present a significant impediment to organ and bone marrow transplantation between HLA-identical donor and recipient pairs. Here we report the identification of a new HLA-A*0201-restricted mHAg, HA-8. Designation of this mHAg as HA-8 is based on the nomenclature of Goulmy (Goulmy, E. 1996. Curr. Opin. Immunol. 8:75-81). This peptide, RTLDKVLEV, is derived from KIAA0020, a gene of unknown function located on chromosome 9. Polymorphic alleles of KIAA0020 encode the alternative sequences PTLDKVLEV and PTLDKVLEL. Genotypic analysis demonstrated that the HA-8-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) clone SKH-13 recognized only cells that expressed the allele encoding R at P1. However, when PTLDKVLEV was pulsed onto cells, or when a minigene encoding this sequence was used to artificially translocate this peptide into the endoplasmic reticulum, it was recognized by CTLs nearly as well as RTLDKVLEV. This indicates that the failure of CTLs to recognize cells expressing the PTLDKVLEV-encoding allele of KIAA0020 is due to a failure of this peptide to be appropriately proteolyzed or transported. Consistent with the latter possibility, PTLDKVLEV and its longer precursors were transported poorly compared with RTLDKVLEV by transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP). These studies identify a new human mHAg and provide the first evidence that minor histocompatibility differences can result from the altered processing of potential antigens rather than differences in interaction with the relevant major histocompatibility complex molecule or T cell receptor.
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