Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Endogenous HLA class II epitopes that are immunogenic in vivo show distinct behavior toward HLA-DM and its natural inhibitor HLA-DO

CD4+ T cells play a central role in adaptive immunity. The acknowledgment of their cytolytic effector function and the finding that endogenous antigens can enter the HLA class II processing pathway make CD4+ T cells promising tools for immunotherapy. Expression of HLA class II and endogenous antigen, however, does not always correlate with T-cell recognition. We therefore investigated processing and presentation of endogenous HLA class II epitopes that induced CD4+ T cells during in vivo immune responses. We demonstrate that the peptide editor HLA-DM allowed antigen presentation of some (DM-resistant antigens) but abolished surface expression of other natural HLA class II epitopes (DM-sensitive antigens). DM sensitivity was shown to be epitope specific, mediated via interaction between HLA-DM and the HLA-DR restriction molecule, and reversible by HLA-DO. Because of the restricted expression of HLA-DO, presentation of DM-sensitive antigens was limited to professional antigen-presenting cells, whereas DM-resistant epitopes were expressed on all HLA class II–expressing cells. In conclusion, our data provide novel insights into the presentation of endogenous HLA class II epitopes and identify intracellular antigen processing and presentation as a critical factor for CD4+ T-cell recognition. This opens perspectives to exploit selective processing capacities as a new approach for targeted immunotherapy (read more). Print this post

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