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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Mar 28;103(13):5042-7. Epub 2006 Mar 20.

Proteasomes shape the repertoire of T cells participating in antigen-specific immune responses.

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Institute of Immunology, University of Mainz, Obere Zahlbacherstrasse 67, 55131 Mainz, Germany.


Differences in the cleavage specificities of constitutive proteasomes and immunoproteasomes significantly affect the generation of MHC class I ligands and therefore the activation of CD8-positive T cells. Based on these findings, we investigated whether proteasomal specificity also influences CD8-positive T cells during thymic selection by peptides derived from self proteins. We find that one of the self peptides responsible for positive selection of ovalbumin-specific OT-1 T cells, which is derived from the f-actin capping protein (Cpalpha1), is efficiently generated only by immunoproteasomes. Furthermore, OT-1 mice backcrossed onto low molecular mass protein 7 (LMP7)-deficient mice show a 50% reduction of OT-1 cells. This deficiency is also observed after transfer of BM from OT-1 mice in LMP7-deficient mice and can be corrected by the injection of the Cpalpha1 peptide. Interestingly, WT and LMP7-deficient mice mount comparable immune responses to the ovalbumin-derived epitope SIINFEKL. However, their cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) differ in the use of T cell receptor Vbeta genes. CTL derived from WT mice use Vbeta8 or Vbeta5 (the latter is also used by OT-1 cells), whereas SIINFEKL-specific CTL from LMP7-deficient mice are exclusively Vbeta8-positive. Taken together, our experiments provide strong evidence that proteasomal specificity shapes the repertoire of T cells participating in antigen-specific immune responses.

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