Send to

Choose Destination
J Clin Immunol. 1996 Mar;16(2):90-6.

Class I MHC presentation of exogenous antigens.

Author information

Department of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


Class I MHC (MHC-I) molecules present primarily endogenous antigens, i.e. antigens that are present in the cytosol and are subject to the cytosolic processing mechanisms that comprise the conventional MHC-I processing pathway. However, exogenous antigens can also be present by MHC-I molecules in certain circumstances, particularly in the case of particulate antigens. Recently, considerable attention has been focused on mechanisms that may contribute to alternate MHC-I processing pathways. Divergent results in several different systems have suggested that more than one alternate processing mechanism may exist. After phagocytic or endocytic uptake, some exogenous antigens can escape the vacuolar system and penetrate into the cytosol, accessing the conventional MHC-I antigen processing mechanisms. In other cases, MHC-I molecules present antigens that have no clear ability to actively escape the vacuolar system. Some results indicate that certain alternate processing mechanisms are quite distinct from the conventional MHC-I pathway and are not dependent on compartments, protein, or mechanisms that are necessary for the conventional pathway, including the endoplasmic reticulum, the transporter for antigen presentation (TAP) and proteasomes. In vivo, alternate MHC-I processing mechanisms may be expressed primarily by phagocytic antigen presenting cells, i.e., macrophages, and perhaps dendritic cells, although other cell types may contribute in certain circumstances. These mechanisms may play important roles in generating CD8 T cell responses, especially to antigens expressed by vacuolar microorganisms. In addition, they provide a potential avenue for therapeutic immunization to achieve protective CD8 T cell responses with nonviable vaccine preparations, in the absence of the endogenous antigen synthesis that is provided by live viral vaccine preparations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center