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Cell. 1996 Mar 8;84(5):769-79.

The human cytomegalovirus US11 gene product dislocates MHC class I heavy chains from the endoplasmic reticulum to the cytosol.

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Center for Cancer Research, Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139, USA.


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) down-regulates expression of MHC class I products by selective proteolysis. A single HCMV gene, US11, which encodes an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) resident type-I transmembrane glycoprotein, is sufficient to cause this effect. In US11+cells, MHC class I molecules are core-glycosylated and therefore inserted into the ER. They are degraded with a half-time of less than 1 min. A full length breakdown intermediate that has lost the single N-linked glycan in an N-glycanase-catalyzed reaction transiently accumulates in cells exposed to the protease inhibitors LLnL, Cbz-LLL, and lactacystin, identifying the proteasome as a key protease. Subcellular fractionation experiments show this intermediate to be cytosolic. Thus, US11 dislocates newly synthesized class I molecules from the ER to the cytosol, where they are acted upon by an N-glycanase and the proteasome.

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