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Blood. 2009 Jun 11;113(24):6148-52. doi: 10.1182/blood-2009-02-203687. Epub 2009 Apr 16.

Discerning regulation of cis- and trans-presentation of CD8+ T-cell epitopes by EBV-encoded oncogene LMP-1 through self-aggregation.

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Australian Centre for Vaccine Development and Tumour Immunology Laboratory, Division of Immunology, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane, Australia.


Activation of the nuclear factor-kappaB pathway by Epstein-Barr virus-encoded latent membrane protein-1 (LMP-1) leads to an up-regulation of the major histocompatibility complex class I antigen-processing pathway. Paradoxically, LMP-1 itself induces a subdominant CD8+ T-cell response and appears to have evolved to avoid immune recognition. Here we show that, although expression of LMP-1 in human cells dramatically enhanced the trans-presentation of CD8+ T-cell epitopes, cis-presentation of LMP-1-derived epitopes was severely impaired. Testing of a series of LMP-1 mutants revealed that deletion of the first transmembrane domain of LMP-1, which prevented self-aggregation, significantly enhanced cis-presentation of T-cell epitopes from this protein, whereas it lost its ability to up-regulate trans-presentation. Interestingly, we also found that cis-presentation of LMP-1 epitopes was rescued by blocking the proteasome function. Taken together, these results delineate a novel mechanism of immune evasion, which renders a virally encoded oncogene inaccessible to the conventional major histocompatibility complex class I pathway limiting its cis-presentation to effector cells.

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