Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Chair of Metabolic Biochemistry

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Antigen-loading compartments for major histocompatibility complex class II molecules continuously receive input from autophagosomes

Immunity. 2007 Jan;26(1):79-92. Epub 2006 Dec 21.

Authors/Editors: Pypaert M
Münz C
Publication Date: 2007
Type of Publication: Journal Article

Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules present products of lysosomal proteolysis to CD4(+) T cells. Although extracellular antigen uptake is considered to be the main source of MHC class II ligands, a few intracellular antigens have been described to gain access to MHC class II loading after macroautophagy. However, the general relevance and efficacy of this pathway is unknown. Here we demonstrated constitutive autophagosome formation in MHC class II-positive cells, including dendritic, B, and epithelial cells. The autophagosomes continuously fuse with multivesicular MHC class II-loading compartments. This pathway was of functional relevance, because targeting of the influenza matrix protein 1 to autophagosomes via fusion to the autophagosome-associated protein Atg8/LC3 led to strongly enhanced MHC class II presentation to CD4(+) T cell clones. We suggest that macroautophagy constitutively and efficiently delivers cytosolic proteins for MHC class II presentation and can be harnessed for improved helper T cell stimulation.

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