Characteristics of Foreign and Self Peptides Endogenously Bound to MHC Class I Molecules
The immune response against intracellular pathogens is mediated by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) which recognize components of the invader in combination with self molecules of an infected cell. These self products are encoded in the class I region of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) and the process is termed MHC restriction (1). Originally it was thought that proteins of the infectious agent were present in close proximity to the surface MHC molecule where they could be simultaneously contacted by the T cell receptor (TCR). Therefore it was hypothesized that spike proteins of viruses which are present on cell surfaces after fusion with the cell membrane at cell entry, or before virus budding, would be likely candidates for such a dual recognition. However, from studies with influenza viruses with variations in the nonsurface exposed nucleoprotein (Np) it was learned that, unlike antibodies, the major population of influenza specific CTL recognize the Np rather than the surface exposed hemagglutinin (2). Studies in which the Np gene or parts thereof were transfected into L-cells further showed that the influenza CTL were specifically recognizing a linear peptide stretch in Np (3). Moreover the specific CTL response could be triggered when short synthetic peptides were mixed in vitro with antigen presenting cells carrying the appropriate MHC class I molecules (4).
KeywordsMajor Histocompatibility Complex Major Histocompatibility Complex Class Antigenic Peptide Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Anchor Residue
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