HSP60 as a target of anti-ergotypic regulatory T cells

Francisco J. Quintana*, Avishai Mimran, Pnina Carmi, Felix Mor, Irun R. Cohen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The 60 kDa heat shock protein (HSP60) has been reported to influence T-cell responses in two ways: as a ligand of toll-like receptor 2 signalling and as an antigen. Here we describe a new mechanism of T-cell immuno-regulation focused on HSP60: HSP60 is up-regulated and presented by activated T cells (HSP60 is an ergotope) to regulatory (anti-ergotypic) T cells. Presentation of HSP60 by activated T cells was found to be MHC-restricted and dependent on accessory molecules - CD28, CD80 and CD86. Anti-ergotypic T cells responded to T-cell HSP60 by proliferation and secreted IFNγ and TGFβ1. In vitro, the anti-ergotypic T cells inhibited IFNγ production by their activated T-cell targets. In vivo, adoptive transfer of an anti-ergotypic HSP60-specific T-cell line led to decreased secretion of IFNγ by arthritogenic T cells and ameliorated adjuvant arthritis (AA). Thus, the presentation of HSP60 by activated T cells turns them into targets for anti-ergotypic regulatory T cells specific for HSP60. However, the direct interaction between the anti-ergotypic T regulators (anti-HSP60) and the activated T cells also down-regulated the regulators. Thus, by functioning as an ergotope, HSP60 can control both the effector T cells and the regulatory HSP60-specific T cells that control them.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4026
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
StatePublished - 24 Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


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