J Exp Med. 2021 Oct 4;218(10):e20210785. doi: 10.1084/jem.20210785. Epub 2021 Aug 19.
Löfgren’s syndrome (LS) is an acute form of sarcoidosis characterized by a genetic association with HLA-DRB1*03 (HLA-DR3) and an accumulation of CD4+ T cells of unknown specificity in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). Here, we screened related LS-specific TCRs for antigen specificity and identified a peptide derived from NAD-dependent histone deacetylase hst4 (NDPD) of Aspergillus nidulans that stimulated these CD4+ T cells in an HLA-DR3-restricted manner. Using ELISPOT analysis, a greater number of IFN-γ- and IL-2-secreting T cells in the BAL of DR3+ LS subjects compared with DR3+ control subjects was observed in response to the NDPD peptide. Finally, increased IgG antibody responses to A. nidulans NDPD were detected in the serum of DR3+ LS subjects. Thus, our findings identify a ligand for CD4+ T cells derived from the lungs of LS patients and suggest a role of A. nidulans in the etiology of LS.