Identification of a Novel UTY-Encoded Minor Histocompatibility Antigen


Dr B. K. Mortensen, MD, Department of Hematology, HCT Unit, Section 4041, Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej 9, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark. E-mail:; and A. Stryhn, PhD, Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 3, 2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark. E-mail:


Minor histocompatibility antigens (mHags) encoded by the Y-chromosome (H-Y-mHags) are known to play a pivotal role in allogeneic haematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) involving female donors and male recipients. We present a new H-Y-mHag, YYNAFHWAI (UTY139–147), encoded by the UTY gene and presented by HLA-A*24:02. Briefly, short peptide stretches encompassing multiple putative H-Y-mHags were designed using a bioinformatics predictor of peptide-HLA binding, NetMHCpan. These peptides were used to screen for peptide-specific HLA-restricted T cell responses in peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained post-HCT from male recipients of female donor grafts. In one of these recipients, a CD8+ T cell response was observed against a peptide stretch encoded by the UTY gene. Another bioinformatics tool, HLArestrictor, was used to identify the optimal peptide and HLA-restriction element. Using peptide/HLA tetramers, the specificity of the CD8+ T cell response was successfully validated as being HLA-A*24:02-restricted and directed against the male UTY139–147 peptide. Functional analysis of these T cells demonstrated male UTY139–147 peptide-specific cytokine secretion (IFNγ, TNFα and MIP-1β) and cytotoxic degranulation (CD107a). In contrast, no responses were seen when the T cells were stimulated with patient tumour cells alone. CD8+ T cells specific for this new H-Y-mHag were found in three of five HLA-A*24:02-positive male recipients of female donor HCT grafts available for this study.