Seminal plasma peptides may determine maternal immune response that alters success or failure of pregnancy in the abortion-prone CBAxDBA/2 model
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Spontaneous abortion (resorption) in the DBA/2-mated CBA/J mouse involves a deficiency in Treg cell activity against paternal antigens at the time of mating. Preimmunization of female CBA/J by BALB/c splenocytes, but not DBA/2 splenocytes, protects against subsequent abortions after a CBAxDBA/2 mating. Previous immunogenetic studies with BALB/cxDBA/2 recombinants have indicated that H-2(d)-restricted presentation of a single minor non-H-2(d) peptide might be responsible for protection, while the product of a second independent allele might promote abortions. Using brefeldin-treated BALB/c and DBA/2 splenocytes, we found that incubation in BALB/c seminal plasma rendered DBA/2 splenocytes protective and DBA/2 seminal plasma eliminated protection. The active protective moiety was <10 kD consistent with a peptide. DBA/2 seminal plasma contained a <10-kD peptide that boosted the abortion rate. Maternal H-2(k) CBA/J splenocytes were unable to present the protective activity. Amicon fractionation also unmasked a <10-kD activity in DBA/2 seminal plasma that could boost abortion rates when presented by BALB/c splenocytes. SELDI-TOF mass spectrometry proteomic analysis of <10-kD filtrates reproducibly detected 1416, 1468, 1774 D peptides in BALB/c that were reduced or absent in DBA/2, and the presence of 2662, 4559 and 5320 D molecules in DBA/2, the latter two definitely not present in BALB/c. Direct antigen presentation of paternal H-2(d)-restricted paternal peptides (600-1800 D) may prevent the rejection of the CBAxDBA/2 embryos, and larger sized peptides may bind to immunizing splenocytes and augment abortion mechanisms.
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