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Biol Chem. 2003 Jun;384(6):883-90.

Insights into the roles of cathepsins in antigen processing and presentation revealed by specific inhibitors.

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  • 1Tokushima Bunri University, Institute for Health Sciences, Tokushima 770-8514, Japan.


Eleven human cathepsins have been identified, however, the in vivo roles of individual cathepsins are still largely unknown. In this brief review we will summarize the functions of individual cathepsins in antigen processing and presentation, which are the initial steps of the immune response. Two general inhibitors of papain-like cysteine proteases, E-64 and pyridoxal phosphate, can completely suppress antigen presentation in vivo. To evaluate the contribution of individual cathepsins, specific inhibitors have been developed based on cathepsin tertiary structures: CA-074 for cathepsin B, CLIK-148 and -195 for cathepsin L, CLIK-60 for cathepsin S. Administration of CA-074, a cathepsin B inhibitor, suppresses the response to exogenous antigens, such as hepatitis B virus antigen, ovalbumin and Leishmania major antigen, and induces switching of the helper T cell responses from Th-2 to Th-1 of CD4+ T cells, thereby downregulating the production of IgE and IgG1. Administration of the cathepsin S inhibitor CLIK-60 impairs presentation of an autoantigen, alpha-fodrin, in Sjogren's syndrome and suppresses the Th-1 response and autoantibody production.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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