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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Sep 30;94(20):10850-5.

Two distinct proteolytic processes in the generation of a major histocompatibility complex class I-presented peptide.

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  • 1Division of Lymphocyte Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 44 Binney Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Although cellular proteins degraded by proteasomes are the source of most antigenic peptides presented on major histocompatibility complex class I molecules, it is unknown whether the eight- to nine-residue peptides that fit in the binding groove of class I molecules are directly produced by proteasomes alone in vivo. If the eight-residue peptide SIINFEKL from chicken ovalbumin is extended by one or several residues at its C terminus and microinjected into cells or expressed from a minigene, it is processed and presented on major histocompatibility complex class I. However, processing and presentation are inhibited by proteasome inhibitors, such as lactacystin. In contrast, when SIINFEKL is extended by 2 to 25 residues at its N terminus, its presentation is not blocked by proteasome inhibitors. N-terminal processing also can occur when the extended peptide is cotranslationally inserted into the endoplasmic reticulum. Thus, two different proteolytic steps in the generation of an chicken ovalbumin-presented peptide can be distinguished. Cleavage by the proteasome defines the proper C terminus, whereas distinct peptidase(s) in the cytosol or endoplasmic reticulum may generate the appropriate N terminus from extended peptides.

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