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Blood. 1997 Sep 15;90(6):2390-7.

Downregulation of TAP1 in B lymphocytes by cellular and Epstein-Barr virus-encoded interleukin-10.

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GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health, Institut für Klinische Molekularbiologie und Tumorgenetik, München, Germany.


Virally infected cells degrade intracellular viral proteins proteolytically and present the resulting peptides in association with major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules to CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). These cells are normally prone to CTL-mediated elimination. However, several viruses have evolved strategies to avoid detection by the immune system that interfere with the pathway of antigen presentation. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) expresses a predominantly late protein, the BCRF1 gene product vIL-10, that is similar in sequence to the human interleukin-10 (hIL-10). We show here that vIL-10 affects the expression of one of the two transporter proteins (TAPs) associated with antigen presentation. Similarly, hIL-10 showed the same activity. Expression of the LMP2 and TAP1 genes but not expression of TAP2 or LMP7 is efficiently downregulated, indicating a specific IL-10 effect on the two divergently transcribed TAP1 and LMP2 genes. Downregulation of TAP1 by IL-10 hampers the transport of peptide antigens into the endoplasmatic reticulum, as shown in the TAP-specific peptide transporter assay, their loading onto empty MHC I molecules, and the subsequent translocation to the cell surface. As a consequence, IL-10 causes a general reduction of surface MHC I molecules on B lymphocytes that might also affect the recognition of EBV-infected cells by cytotoxic T cells.

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