Human CD8+ T cell responses to EBV EBNA1: HLA class I presentation of the (Gly-Ala)-containing protein requires exogenous processing.
Blake N., Lee S., Redchenko I., Thomas W., Steven N., Leese A., Steigerwald-Mullen P., Kurilla MG., Frappier L., Rickinson A.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-induced cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses have been detected against many EBV antigens but not the nuclear antigen EBNA1; this has been attributed to the presence of a glycine-alanine repeat (GAr) domain in the protein. Here we describe the isolation of human CD8+ CTL clones recognizing EBNA1-specific peptides in the context of HLA-B35.01 and HLA-A2.03. Using these clones, we show that full-length EBNA1 is not presented when expressed endogenously in target cells, whereas the GAr-deleted form is presented efficiently. However, when supplied as an exogenous antigen, the full-length protein can be presented on HLA class I molecules by a TAP-independent pathway; this may explain how EBNA1-specific CTLs are primed in vivo.