Presentation of endogenous viral proteins in association with major histocompatibility complex class II: on the role of intracellular compartmentalization, invariant chain and the TAP transporter system.
Oxenius A., Bachmann MF., Ashton-Rickardt PG., Tonegawa S., Zinkernagel RM., Hengartner H.
Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-associated antigen presentation is mainly linked to processing of exogenous antigens upon cellular uptake by endocytosis, but has also been observed for endogenously synthesized antigens. We have studied the MHC class II-associated presentation of the endogenously synthesized membrane associated glycoprotein (GP) and the cytosolic nucleoprotein (NP) of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) in professional antigen presenting cells (APC) of mice. Since LCMV is a noncytopathic virus and minimally affects cellular protein synthesis, it is a convenient virus for the study of antigen presentation. In contrast, most other studies assessing class II-associated presentation of endogeneously synthesized viral antigens used cytolytic viruses such as vaccinia, measles and influenza virus, which drastically interfere with host cell functions. In addition, most studies were performed using non-professional APC. We found that class II-associated presentation of endogenously synthesized membrane associated LCMV-GP was efficient and could not be inhibited by chloroquine or leupeptin. Neither the transporter associated with processing (TAP) system nor the invariant chain (Ii) were significantly involved in this process. In contrast, MHC class II-associated presentation of endogenously synthesized cytosolic LCMV-NP was not observed even in Ii-deficient APC. Thus, MHC class II loading of endogenously synthesized LCMV-GP apparently does not require processing in acidic endosomal compartments as defined by chloroquine and leupeptin insensitivity. Furthermore, although the TAP molecules transport peptides of up to 15 amino acids in length, which potentially could bind to MHC class II molecules in the endoplasmic reticulum, such a process apparently does not occur for either the glycoprotein or the nucleoprotein. Therefore, the subcellular localization of an endogenously synthesized protein influences crucially whether or not MHC class II loading can occur independently of the acidic compartments usually involved in MHC class II loading.