We aimed to generate T-cell clones specific for human pre-proinsulin. An HLA DQ8, CD4+ T-cell clone that recognised a 10mer (C65-A9) peptide from pre-proinsulin was isolated. Further analysis revealed that the clone responded neither to recombinant proinsulin nor to re-synthesised C65-A9 peptide. Analysis of the original peptide revealed minor contamination (<0.5%) with an N-terminal Fmoc adduct. This peptide was synthesised and shown to stimulate the clone. Thus, Fmoc-modified peptides, which are common contaminants in synthetic peptides, can stimulate human CD4+ T-cells. This finding has important implications for the use of synthetic peptides in screening and epitope mapping studies and their use as vaccines in humans.
- T lymphocytes