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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Jul 8;94(14):7499-502.

Efficient loading of HLA-DR with a T helper epitope by genetic exchange of CLIP.

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Leiden University Hospital, Department of Immunohematology and Blood Bank, Albinusdreef 2, P.O. Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands.


The HLA class II-associated invariant chain (Ii)-derived peptide (CLIP) occupies the peptide binding groove during assembly in the endoplasmic reticulum, travels with HLA class II to endosomal compartments, and is subsequently released to allow binding of antigenic peptides. We investigated whether the exchange of CLIP with a known T helper epitope at the DNA level would lead to efficient loading of this helper epitope onto HLA class II. For this purpose, a versatile Ii-encoding expression vector was created in which CLIP can be replaced with a helper epitope of choice. Upon supertransfection of HLA-DR1-transfected 293 cells with an Ii vector encoding a known T helper epitope (HA307-319), predominantly length variants of this epitope were detected in association with the HLA-DR1 molecules of these cells. Moreover, this transfectant was efficiently recognized by a peptide-specific T helper clone (HA1.7). The results suggest that this type of Ii vector can be used to create potent class II+ cellular vaccines in which defined T cell epitopes are continuously synthesized.

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