What causes relapses of autoimmune diseases? The etiological role of autoreactive T cells.
The expression of HLA Class II beta genes by seven CD4- or CD8-positive T cell clones grown in conditioned medium was examined on the mRNA and cell surface levels. Monoclonal antibodies directed against Class II glycoproteins demonstrated the presence of these molecules on the cell surface. In addition, Northern blot analysis demonstrated that cDNA probes for the DR, DP, and DQ beta genes hybridized to mRNA isolated from each clone. Because we were interested in differences in expression of relative levels of DR, DQ and DP, mRNA isolated from the clones was quantified by means of densitometry. Our results demonstrated that different ratios of DR, DQ and DP beta chain messages were expressed by the clones. Subsequent studies established the kinetics of the accumulation of DR beta mRNA messages by T cells during culture and showed that it could be regulated by factors contained within conditioned medium. Our results confirm that the accumulation of Class II mRNA following growth of T cells in conditioned medium appears to be a general feature.