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Traffic. 2001 Oct;2(10):690-7.

To find the road traveled to tumor immunity: the trafficking itineraries of molecular chaperones in antigen-presenting cells.

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Department of Cell Biology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Molecular chaperones, both endoplasmic reticulum and cytosol derived, have been identified as tumor rejection antigens; in animal models, they can elicit prophylactic and therapeutic immune responses against their tumor of origin. Chaperone immunogenic activity derives from three principal characteristics: they bind an array of immunogenic (poly)peptides, they can be efficiently internalized by professional antigen-presenting cells, and once internalized, they traffic to a subcellular compartment(s) where peptide release can occur. Within the antigen-presenting cell, chaperone-derived peptides can be assembled onto major histocompatibility class I molecules for presentation at the antigen-presenting cell surface, thereby yielding the requisite and specific CD8+ T-cell responses that contribute to the process of tumor rejection. Though it is clear that chaperones, in particular GRP94 (gp96), calreticulin and Hsp70, can elicit cellular immune responses, the subcellular basis of chaperone processing by antigen-presenting cells remains mysterious. In this review, we discuss recent reports describing the identification of a chaperone internalization receptor and the physiological release of chaperones from necrotic cells, and we present views on the trafficking pathways within antigen-presenting cells that may function to deliver the chaperone-associated peptides to subcellular organelles for their subsequent exchange onto major histocompatibility complex molecules.

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