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Exp Cell Res. 1997 Feb 25;231(1):50-60.

Characterization of prosomes in human lymphocyte subpopulations and their presence as surface antigens.

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  • 1Faculté de Médecine, Université Montpellier 1, Nimes, 30900, France.


Prosomes, also called "multicatalytic proteinase" (MCP) or "proteasomes," are a new type of ubiquitous RNP particle present in some archeobacteria and in all eukaryotic cells tested from yeast to human. They were discovered as subcomplexes of untranslated messenger-ribonucleoproteins (mRNP) and later found to have a MCP activity putatively involved in antigen processing. Being composed of variable sets of characteristic proteins and associating small RNAs (pRNA), families of individual "mosaic" prosome particles seem to characterize the differentiation type and physiological state of individual cells and tissues. Here, prosomes from human lymphocytes, isolated and characterized biochemically and by Western blot analysis, were found to differ in their subunit composition compared to other human prosomes. Surprisingly, prosomal antigens were discovered at the outer surface of blood cells monitored by flow cytometry with monoclonal antibodies to individual prosomal proteins. It was observed that human T and B lymphocytes have variable and characteristic prosomal antigens at their surface according to their CD classification. Interestingly, the lymphocyte subpopulations most strongly labeled by the anti-p25K and anti-p27K mAbs were the NK and B cells.

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