Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 63, Issue 6, pp 653–662 | Cite as

The macromolecular peptide-loading complex in MHC class I-dependent antigen presentation



A challenging task for the adaptive immune system of vertebrates is to identify and eliminate intracellular antigens. Therefore a highly specialized antigen presentation machinery has evolved to display fragments of newly synthesized proteins to effector cells of the immune system at the cell surface. After proteasomal degradation of unwanted proteins or defective ribosome products, resulting peptides are translocated into the endoplasmic reticulum by the transporter associated with antigen processing and loaded onto major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules. Peptide-MHC I complexes are transported via the secretory pathway to the cell surface where they are then inspected by cytotoxic T lymphocytes, which can trigger an immune response. This review summarizes the current view of the intracellular machinery of antigen processing and of viral immune escape mechanisms to circumvent destruction by the host.

Key words.

ABC transporter antigen processing MHC class I peptide-loading complex tapasin translocation pore TAP 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Biochemistry, BiocenterJohann Wolfgang Goethe-University FrankfurtFrankfurt a. M.Germany

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