supressor peptides

James Kennedy jrken at
Sat Aug 12 12:38:59 EST 1995

It seems to me that peripheral tolerance just has to be a dynamic
process. The ever present self reactive cells must require continuous
surveillance and the specificity for their monitoring would seem to
require the involvement of the V-regions of T cell receptors.

In certain cytokine milieus the immunological balance between the self
reactive idiotopes and their anti-idiotypic suppressors must be tenuous
and to just stay in one place we probably require a considerable
majority of the anti-Id types. A shift in the equilibrium could result
in autoimmunity and carried to its extreme this could lead to something
like septic shock.  There has to be another less explosive counterpart
for T cell mediated immune tolerance (probably many).

Meet the Kinder, Gentler, Suppressor cell. These KGS T cells are peace
makers which employ stealth rather than violence to do their job. They
cloak their targets and make them invisible by secreting complementary
TCR V-region peptides (these are equal opportunity cells,if cytokine
receptors are secreted, why not T cell receptors?). They primarily
cloak the TCRs of self idiotopes but on occasion some might get
conjugal with somatic self peptides.  All this is very low key, no
suicide, no killing, no vile language. These are gentlmen (gentlperson)
cells which abhor violence, defuse angry T cell riots and quell
inflammatory mobs.

Why haven't we discovered these peace making peptides? Probably because
they are quiet shy and cling to the TCRs of the self idiotopes they
monitor (control). Also, when free floating in the serum, they don't
have convenient Fc handles, some complex with antibody Fabs (more
control), and they manifest scazillions of different specificities. 
Finally, being peptides, they probably don't survive too many liver
passes. Maybe we should look a little harder.

J.R. Kennedy

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