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The role of DNP in antigen activation of cellular immune responses Waterfield, John Douglas


In animals immunized with 2,4 dinitrophenyl (DNP) hapten-carrier protein conjugates, no in vitro cellular response is elicited by DNP, either alone, or when coupled to a heterologous carrier. In contrast, animals immunized with haptenic peptide-carrier conjugates do mount an in vitro cellular response towards the haptenic peptide. This apparent inconsistency led us to compare the in vivo and in vitro cellular immune responses to a synthetic peptide antigen and its DNP derivative to determine the activation specificity of the cells evoking this response. Guinea pigs were immunized with either the DNP substituted immunogen (DNP-N-10-C) or its unsubstituted form (N-10-C) and subsequent in vivo or in vitro cellular activation was evaluated for DNP alone, DNP coupled to the homologous determinant, and DNP coupled to heterologous carriers. The data suggests that in DNP-N-10-C immune guinea pigs, DNP substitution opens a new determinant exhibiting, in antigen reactive cells, a unique specificity towards the DNP moiety as well as a portion of the peptide to which it is conjugated. However the DNP group by itself does not have the configurational requirement to evoke cellular activation. It therefore plays a minor role in activation of the cellular immune response; the major contribution being supplied by the peptide portion of the 'shared' determinant.

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