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Nat Rev Immunol. 2010 Jan;10(1):73-8. doi: 10.1038/nri2687. Epub 2009 Dec 11.

Proteasomes in immune cells: more than peptide producers?

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Division of Immunology, Department of Biology, University of Constance, Konstanz, Germany.


When cells are stimulated with pro-inflammatory cytokines, most of their constitutively expressed proteasomes are replaced with immunoproteasomes, which increase the production of peptides for presentation on MHC class I molecules. In addition, cortical thymic epithelial cells selectively express a type of proteasome known as the thymoproteasome that is required for the positive selection of thymocytes. Here, we discuss how these specialized types of proteasome shape the T cell receptor repertoire of cytotoxic T lymphocytes and propose that immunoproteasomes have functions, in addition to antigen processing, that influence cytokine production and T cell differentiation, survival and function. We also discuss how inhibitors of immunoproteasomes can suppress undesired T cell responses in autoimmune diseases.

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