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J Immunol. 2001 Aug 1;167(3):1274-82.

Processing of exogenous antigens for presentation by class I MHC molecules involves post-Golgi peptide exchange influenced by peptide-MHC complex stability and acidic pH.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Immunol 2003 Jan 1;170(1):643.


Vacuolar alternate class I MHC (MHC-I) Ag processing allows presentation of exogenous Ag by MHC-I molecules with binding of antigenic peptides to post-Golgi MHC-I molecules. We investigated the role of previously bound peptides and their dissociation in generating peptide-receptive MHC-I molecules. TAP1-knockout macrophages were incubated overnight with an initial exogenous peptide, producing a large cohort of peptide-K(b) complexes that could influence subsequent peptide dissociation/exchange. Initial incubation with FAPGNYPAL, KVVRFDKL, or RGYVYQGL enhanced rather than reduced subsequent binding and presentation of a readout peptide (SIINFEKL or FAPGNYPAL) to T cells. Thus, K(b) molecules may be stabilized by an initial (stabilizing) peptide, enhancing their ability to bind readout peptide and implicating peptide dissociation/exchange. In contrast, incubation with SIINFEKL as stabilizing peptide reduced presentation of readout peptide. SIINFEKL-K(b) complexes were more stable than other peptide-K(b) complexes, which may limit their contribution to peptide exchange. Stabilizing peptides (FAPGNYPAL, KVVRFDKL, or RGYVYQGL) enhanced alternate MHC-I processing of HB101.Crl-OVA (Escherichia coli expressing an OVA fusion protein), indicating that alternate MHC-I Ag processing involves peptide dissociation/exchange. Stabilizing peptide enhanced processing of HB101.Crl-OVA more than presentation of exogenous OVA peptide (SIINFEKL), suggesting that peptide dissociation/exchange may be enhanced in the acidic phagosomal processing environment. Furthermore, exposure of cells to acidic pH increased subsequent binding and presentation of readout peptide. Thus, peptide dissociation/exchange contributes to alternate MHC-I Ag processing and may be influenced by both stability of peptide-MHC-I complexes and pH.

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