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1.  Role for Cathepsin F in Invariant Chain Processing and Major Histocompatibility Complex Class II Peptide Loading by Macrophages 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2000;191(7):1177-1186.
The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II–associated invariant chain (Ii) regulates intracellular trafficking and peptide loading of MHC class II molecules. Such loading occurs after endosomal degradation of the invariant chain to a ∼3-kD peptide termed CLIP (class II–associated invariant chain peptide). Cathepsins L and S have both been implicated in degradation of Ii to CLIP in thymus and peripheral lymphoid organs, respectively. However, macrophages from mice deficient in both cathepsins S and L can process Ii and load peptides onto MHC class II dimers normally. Both processes are blocked by a cysteine protease inhibitor, indicating the involvement of an additional Ii-processing enzyme(s). Comparison of cysteine proteases expressed by macrophages with those found in splenocytes and dendritic cells revealed two enzymes expressed exclusively in macrophages, cathepsins Z and F. Recombinant cathepsin Z did not generate CLIP from Ii–MHC class II complexes, whereas cathepsin F was as efficient as cathepsin S in CLIP generation. Inhibition of cathepsin F activity and MHC class II peptide loading by macrophages exhibited similar specificity and activity profiles. These experiments show that cathepsin F, in a subset of antigen presenting cells (APCs), can efficiently degrade Ii. Different APCs can thus use distinct proteases to mediate MHC class II maturation and peptide loading.
PMCID: PMC2193169  PMID: 10748235
cysteine protease; antigen presentation; protease inhibitor; proteolysis; antigen presenting cell
2.  Cathepsin S activity regulates antigen presentation and immunity. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1998;101(11):2351-2363.
MHC class II molecules display antigenic peptides on cell surfaces for recognition by CD4(+) T cells. Proteolysis is required in this process both for degradation of invariant chain (Ii) from class II-Ii complexes to allow subsequent binding of peptides, and for generation of the antigenic peptides. The cysteine endoprotease, cathepsin S, mediates Ii degradation in human and mouse antigen-presenting cells. Studies described here examine the functional significance of cathepsin S inhibition on antigen presentation and immunity. Specific inhibition of cathepsin S in A20 cells markedly impaired presentation of an ovalbumin epitope by interfering with class II-peptide binding, not by obstructing generation of the antigen. Administration of a cathepsin S inhibitor to mice in vivo selectively inhibited activity of cathepsin S in splenocytes, resulting in accumulation of a class II-associated Ii breakdown product, attenuation of class II-peptide complex formation, and inhibition of antigen presentation. Mice treated with inhibitor had an attenuated antibody response when immunized with ovalbumin but not the T cell-independent antigen TNP-Ficoll. In a mouse model of pulmonary hypersensitivity, treatment with the inhibitor also abrogated a rise in IgE titers and profoundly blocked eosinophilic infiltration in the lung. Thus, inhibition of cathepsin S in vivo alters Ii processing, antigen presentation, and immunity. These data identify selective inhibition of cysteine proteases as a potential therapeutic strategy for asthma and autoimmune disease processes.
PMCID: PMC508824  PMID: 9616206
3.  Cathepsin V is involved in the degradation of invariant chain in human thymus and is overexpressed in myasthenia gravis 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2003;112(4):517-526.
Stepwise degradation of the invariant chain (Ii) is required for the binding of antigenic peptides to MHC class II molecules. Cathepsin (Cat) L in the murine thymus and Cat S in peripheral APCs have both been implicated in the last step of Ii degradation that gives rise to the class II–associated invariant chain peptides (CLIP). Cat V has been recently described as highly homologous to Cat L and exclusively expressed in human thymus and testis, but with no mouse orthologue. We report that Cat V is the dominant cysteine protease in cortical human thymic epithelial cells, while Cat L and Cat S seem to be restricted to dendritic and macrophage-like cells. Active Cat V in thymic lysosomal preparations was demonstrated by active-site labeling. Recombinant Cat V was capable of converting Ii into CLIP efficiently, suggesting that Cat V is the protease that controls the generation of αβ-CLIP complexes in the human thymus, in analogy to Cat L in mouse. Comparison of Cat V expression between thymi from patients with myasthenia gravis and healthy controls revealed a significantly higher expression level in the pathological samples, suggesting a potential involvement of this protease in the immunopathogenesis of myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disease almost invariably associated with thymic pathology.
PMCID: PMC171390  PMID: 12925692
4.  Cathepsin S regulates class II MHC processing in human CD4+ HLA-DR+ T cells 
While it has long been known that human CD4+ T cells can express functional class II MHC molecules, the role of lysosomal proteases in T cell class II MHC processing and presentation pathway is unknown. Using CD4+ T cell clones that constitutively express class II MHC, we determined that cathepsin S is necessary for invariant chain proteolysis in T cells. CD4+HLA-DR+ T cells downregulated cathepsin S expression and activity 18 hours after activation, thereby ceasing nascent class II MHC product formation. This blockade resulted in the loss of the invariant chain fragment CLIP from the cell surface, suggesting that—like professional APC—CD4+ HLA-DR+ cells modulate self-antigen presentation as a consequence of activation. Furthermore, cathepsin S expression and activity, and concordantly cell surface CLIP expression, was reduced in HLA-DR+ CD4+ T cells as compared to B cells both in vitro and ex vivo.
This is an author-produced version of a manuscript accepted for publication in The Journal of Immunology (The JI). The American Association of Immunologists, Inc. (AAI), publisher of The JI, holds the copyright to this manuscript. This version of the manuscript has not yet been copyedited or subjected to editorial proofreading by The JI; hence, it may differ from the final version published in The JI (online and in print). AAI (The JI) is not liable for errors or omissions in this author-produced version of the manuscript or in any version derived from it by the U.S. National Institutes of Health or any other third party. The final, citable version of record can be found at
PMCID: PMC2752291  PMID: 19553543
5.  GILT expression in B cells diminishes cathepsin S steady-state protein expression and activity 
European journal of immunology  2012;43(1):65-74.
MHC class II-restricted Ag processing requires protein degradation in the endocytic pathway for the activation of CD4+ T cells. Gamma-interferon-inducible lysosomal thiol reductase (GILT) facilitates Ag processing by reducing protein disulfide bonds in this compartment. Lysosomal cysteine protease cathepsin S (CatS) contains disulfide bonds and mediates essential steps in MHC class II-restricted processing, including proteolysis of large polypeptides and cleavage of the invariant chain. We sought to determine whether GILT’s reductase activity regulates CatS expression and function. Confocal microscopy confirmed that GILT and CatS colocalized within lysosomes of B cells. GILT expression posttranscriptionally decreased the steady-state protein expression of CatS in primary B cells and B-cell lines. GILT did not substantially alter the expression of other lysosomal proteins, including H2-M, H2-O, or CatL. GILT’s reductase active site was necessary for diminished CatS protein levels, and GILT expression decreased the half-life of CatS, suggesting that GILT-mediated reduction of protein disulfide bonds enhances CatS degradation. GILT expression decreased the proteolysis of a CatS selective substrate. This study illustrates a physiologic mechanism that regulates CatS and has implications for fine tuning MHC class II-restricted Ag processing and for the development of CatS inhibitors, which are under investigation for the treatment of autoimmune disease.
PMCID: PMC3706190  PMID: 23012103
Antigen presentation/processing; Antigen presenting cells; B cells; Cathepsin S; Gamma-interferon-inducible lysosomal thiol reductase (GILT)
6.  Degradation of Mouse Invariant Chain: Roles of Cathepsins S and D and the Influence of Major Histocompatibility Complex Polymorphism  
Antigen-presenting cells (APC) degrade endocytosed antigens into peptides that are bound and presented to T cells by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules. Class II molecules are delivered to endocytic compartments by the class II accessory molecule invariant chain (Ii), which itself must be eliminated to allow peptide binding. The cellular location of Ii degradation, as well as the enzymology of this event, are important in determining the sets of antigenic peptides that will bind to class II molecules. Here, we show that the cysteine protease cathepsin S acts in a concerted fashion with other cysteine and noncysteine proteases to degrade mouse Ii in a stepwise fashion. Inactivation of cysteine proteases results in incomplete degradation of Ii, but the extent to which peptide loading is blocked by such treatment varies widely among MHC class II allelic products. These observations suggest that, first, class II molecules associated with larger Ii remnants can be converted efficiently to class II–peptide complexes and, second, that most class II–associated peptides can still be generated in cells treated with inhibitors of cysteine proteases. Surprisingly, maturation of MHC class II in mice deficient in cathepsin D is unaffected, showing that this major aspartyl protease is not involved in degradation of Ii or in generation of the bulk of antigenic peptides.
PMCID: PMC2199027  PMID: 9254653
7.  The invariant chain is required for intracellular transport and function of major histocompatibility complex class II molecules 
The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-associated invariant chain (Ii) is thought to act as a chaperone that assists class II during folding, assembly, and transport. To define more precisely the role of Ii chain in regulating class II function, we have investigated in detail the biosynthesis, transport, and intracellular distribution of class II molecules in splenocytes from mice bearing a deletion of the Ii gene. As observed previously, the absence of Ii chain caused significant reduction in both class II-restricted antigen presentation and expression of class II molecules at the cell surface because of the intracellular accumulation of alpha and beta chains. Whereas much of the newly synthesized MHC molecules enter a high molecular weight aggregate characteristic of misfolded proteins, most of the alpha and beta chains form dimers and acquire epitopes characteristic of properly folded complexes. Although the complexes do not bind endogenously processed peptides, class II molecules that reach the surface are competent to bind peptides added to the medium, further demonstrating that at least some of the complexes fold properly. Similar to misfolded proteins, however, the alpha and beta chains are poorly terminally glycosylated, suggesting that they fail to reach the Golgi complex. As demonstrated by double label confocal and electron microscope immunocytochemistry, class II molecules were found in a subcompartment of the endoplasmic reticulum and in a population of small nonlysosomal vesicles possibly corresponding to the intermediate compartment or cis-Golgi network. Thus, although alpha and beta chains can fold and form dimers on their own, the absence of Ii chain causes them to be recognized as "misfolded" and retained in the same compartments as bona fide misfolded proteins.
PMCID: PMC2191389  PMID: 8294875
8.  Cathepsin S Controls the Trafficking and Maturation of Mhc Class II Molecules in Dendritic Cells 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1999;147(4):775-790.
Before a class II molecule can be loaded with antigenic material and reach the surface to engage CD4+ T cells, its chaperone, the class II-associated invariant chain (Ii), is degraded in a stepwise fashion by proteases in endocytic compartments. We have dissected the role of cathepsin S (CatS) in the trafficking and maturation of class II molecules by combining the use of dendritic cells (DC) from CatS−/− mice with a new active site–directed probe for direct visualization of active CatS. Our data demonstrate that CatS is active along the entire endocytic route, and that cleavage of the lysosomal sorting signal of Ii by CatS can occur there in mature DC. Genetic disruption of CatS dramatically reduces the flow of class II molecules to the cell surface. In CatS−/− DC, the bulk of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules is retained in late endocytic compartments, although paradoxically, surface expression of class II is largely unaffected. The greatly diminished but continuous flow of class II molecules to the cell surface, in conjunction with their long half-life, can account for the latter observation. We conclude that in DC, CatS is a major determinant in the regulation of intracellular trafficking of MHC class II molecules.
PMCID: PMC2156161  PMID: 10562280
major histocompatibility complex class II; cathepsins; dendritic cells; antigen presentation; biological transport
9.  Invariant chain cleavage and peptide loading in major histocompatibility complex class II vesicles 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  1995;181(5):1729-1741.
B lymphocytes contain a novel population of endocytic vesicles involved in the transport of newly synthesized major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II alpha beta chains and alpha beta peptide complexes to the cell surface. We now present evidence that these class II-enriched vesicles (CIIV) are also likely to be a site for the loading of immunogenic peptides onto MHC molecules. We used the serine protease inhibitor leupeptin to accumulate naturally occurring intermediates in the degradation of alpha beta-invariant chain complexes and to slow the intracellular transport of class II molecules. As expected, leupeptin caused an accumulation of Ii chain and class II molecules (I-A(d)) in endosomes and lysosomes. More importantly, however, it enhanced the selective accumulation of a 10-kD invariant chain fragment associated with sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)-labile (empty) alpha beta dimers in CIIV. This was followed by the dissociation of the 10-kD fragment, formation of SDS-stable (peptide-loaded) alpha beta dimers, and their subsequent appearance at the cell surface. Thus, CIIV are likely to serve as a specialized site, distinct from endosomes and lysosomes, that hosts the final steps in the dissociation of invariant chain from class II molecules and the loading of antigen-derived peptides onto newly synthesized alpha beta dimers.
PMCID: PMC2191985  PMID: 7722451
10.  Invariant Chain Controls the Activity of Extracellular Cathepsin L 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2002;196(9):1263-1270.
Secretion of proteases is critical for degradation of the extracellular matrix during an inflammatory response. Cathepsin (Cat) S and L are the major elastinolytic cysteine proteases in mouse macrophages. A 65 amino acid segment of the p41 splice variant (p4165aa) of major histocompatibility complex class II–associated invariant chain (Ii) binds to the active site of CatL and permits the maintenance of a pool of mature enzyme in endosomal compartments of macro-phages and dendritic cells (DCs). Here we show that interaction of p4165aa with mature CatL allows extracellular accumulation of the active enzyme. We detected mature CatL as a complex with p4165aa in culture supernatants from antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Extracellular accumulation of mature CatL is up-regulated by inflammatory stimuli as observed in interferon (IFN)-γ–treated macrophages and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated DCs. Despite the neutral pH of the extracellular milieu, released CatL associated with p4165aa is catalytically active as demonstrated by active site labeling and elastin degradation assays. We propose that p4165aa stabilizes CatL in the extracellular environment and induces a local increase in the concentration of matrix-degrading enzymes during inflammation. Through its interaction with CatL, Ii may therefore control the migratory response of APCs and/or the recruitment of effectors of the inflammatory response.
PMCID: PMC2194106  PMID: 12417635
protease; invariant chain; secretion; antigen-presenting cells; extracellular matrix degradation
11.  Hepatitis C Virus-Mediated Inhibition of Cathepsin S Increases Invariant-Chain Expression on Hepatocyte Surface 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(18):9919-9928.
Hepatocytes are the main source of hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication and contain the maximum viral load in an infected person. Chronic HCV infection is characterized by weak cellular immune responses to viral proteins. Cathepsin S is a lysosomal cysteine protease and controls HLA-DR–antigen complex presentation through the degradation of the invariant chain. In this study, we examined the effect of HCV proteins on cathepsin S expression and found it to be markedly decreased in dendritic cells (DCs) exposed to HCV or in hepatocytes expressing HCV proteins. The downregulation of cathepsin S was mediated by HCV core and NS5A proteins involving inhibition of the transcription factors interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF-1) and upstream stimulatory factor 1 (USF-1) in gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-treated hepatocytes. Inhibition of cathepsin S by HCV proteins increased cell surface expression of the invariant chain. In addition, hepatocytes stably transfected with HCV core or NS5A inhibited HLA-DR expression. Together, these results suggested that HCV has an inhibitory role on cathepsin S-mediated major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II maturation, which may contribute to weak immunogenicity of viral antigens in chronically infected humans.
PMCID: PMC3446550  PMID: 22761382
12.  A novel antigen-processing-defective phenotype in major histocompatibility complex class II-positive CIITA transfectants is corrected by interferon-gamma 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  1995;182(6):1793-1799.
Presentation of exogenous protein antigens to T lymphocytes is based on the intersection of two complex pathways: (a) synthesis, assembly, and transport of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-invariant chain complexes from the endoplasmic reticulum to a specialized endosomal compartment, and (b) endocytosis, denaturation, and proteolysis of antigens followed by loading of antigenic peptides onto newly synthesized MHC class II molecules. It is believed that expression of MHC class II heterodimers, invariant chain and human leukocyte antigen-DM is both necessary and sufficient to reconstitute a functional MHC class II loading compartment in antigen-presenting cells. Expression of each of these essential molecules is under the control of the MHC class II transactivator CIITA. Unexpectedly, however, whereas interferon gamma stimulation does confer effective antigen-processing function to nonprofessional antigen presenting cells, such as melanoma cells, expression of the CIITA transactivator alone is not sufficient. Activation of antigen-specific T cells thus requires additional CIITA-independent factor(s), and such factor(s) can be induced by interferon gamma.
PMCID: PMC2192235  PMID: 7500024
13.  The immunomodulatory action of sialostatin L on dendritic cells reveals its potential to interfere with autoimmunity1 
Sialostatin L (SialoL) is a secreted cysteine protease inhibitor identified in the salivary glands of the Lyme disease vector Ixodes scapularis. Here, we reveal the mechanisms of SialoL immunomodulatory actions on the vertebrate host. LPS-induced maturation of dendritic cells from C57BL/6 mice was significantly reduced in the presence of SialoL. Although OVA degradation was not affected by the presence of SialoL in dendritic cell cultures, cathepsin S activity was partially inhibited, leading to an accumulation of 10 KDa invariant chain intermediate (Ii-p10) in these cells. As a consequence, in vitro antigen-specific CD4+ T cell proliferation was inhibited in a time-dependent manner by SialoL and further studies engaging cathepsin S−/− or cathepsin L−/− dendritic cells confirmed that the immunomodulatory actions SialoL are mediated by inhibition of cathepsin S. Moreover, mice treated with SialoL displayed decreased early T cell expansion and recall response upon antigenic stimulation. Finally, SialoL administration during the immunization phase of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in mice significantly prevented disease symptoms, which was associated with impaired IFN-γ and IL-17 production and specific T cell proliferation. These results illuminate the dual mechanism by which a human disease vector protein modulates vertebrate host immunity and reveals its potential in prevention of an autoimmune disease.
PMCID: PMC2694955  PMID: 19494265
Dendritic cells; T cells; Autoimmunity; Antigen Presentation/Processing; Cell Proliferation
14.  Fcγ Receptor–mediated Induction of Dendritic Cell Maturation and Major Histocompatibility Complex Class I–restricted Antigen Presentation after Immune Complex Internalization  
Dendritic cells (DCs) express several receptors for the Fc portion of immunoglobulin (Ig)G (FcγR), which mediate internalization of antigen–IgG complexes (immune complexes, ICs) and promote efficient major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II–restricted antigen presentation. We now show that FcγRs have two additional specific attributes in murine DCs: the induction of DC maturation and the promotion of efficient MHC class I–restricted presentation of peptides from exogenous, IgG-complexed antigens. Both FcγR functions require the FcγR-associated γ chain. FcγR-mediated MHC class I–restricted antigen presentation is extremely sensitive and specific to immature DCs. It requires proteasomal degradation and is dependent on functional peptide transporter associated with antigen processing, TAP1-TAP2. By promoting DC maturation and presentation on both MHC class I and II molecules, ICs should efficiently sensitize DCs for priming of both CD4+ helper and CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2192989  PMID: 9892619
Fc receptors; dendritic cells; antigen presentation; immune complexes; cross-priming
15.  Monocyte-Derived Dendritic Cells Exhibit Increased Levels of Lysosomal Proteolysis as Compared to Other Human Dendritic Cell Populations 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e11949.
Fine control of lysosomal degradation for limited processing of internalized antigens is a hallmark of professional antigen presenting cells. Previous work in mice has shown that dendritic cells (DCs) contain lysosomes with remarkably low protease content. Combined with the ability to modulate lysosomal pH during phagocytosis and maturation, murine DCs enhance their production of class II MHC-peptide complexes for presentation to T cells.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In this study we extend these findings to human DCs and distinguish between different subsets of DCs based on their ability to preserve internalized antigen. Whereas DCs derived in vitro from CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells or isolated from peripheral blood of healthy donors are protease poor, DCs derived in vitro from monocytes (MDDCs) are more similar to macrophages (MΦs) in protease content. Unlike other DCs, MDDCs also fail to reduce their intralysosomal pH in response to maturation stimuli. Indeed, functional characterization of lysosomal proteolysis indicates that MDDCs are comparable to MΦs in the rapid degradation of antigen while other human DC subtypes are attenuated in this capacity.
Human DCs are comparable to murine DCs in exhibiting a markedly reduced level of lysosomal proteolysis. However, as an important exception to this, human MDDCs stand apart from all other DCs by a heightened capacity for proteolysis that resembles that of MΦs. Thus, caution should be exercised when using human MDDCs as a model for DC function and cell biology.
PMCID: PMC2914042  PMID: 20689855
16.  CD1 and Major Histocompatibility Complex II Molecules Follow a Different Course during Dendritic Cell Maturation 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2003;14(8):3378-3388.
The maturation of dendritic cells is accompanied by the redistribution of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules from the lysosomal MHC class II compartment to the plasma membrane to mediate presentation of peptide antigens. Besides MHC molecules, dendritic cells also express CD1 molecules that mediate presentation of lipid antigens. Herein, we show that in human monocyte-derived dendritic cells, unlike MHC class II, the steady-state distribution of lysosomal CD1b and CD1c isoforms was unperturbed in response to lipopolysaccharide-induced maturation. However, the lysosomes in these cells underwent a dramatic reorganization into electron dense tubules with altered lysosomal protein composition. These structures matured into novel and morphologically unique compartments, here termed mature dendritic cell lysosomes (MDL). Furthermore, we show that upon activation mature dendritic cells do not lose their ability of efficient clathrin-mediated endocytosis as demonstrated for CD1b and transferrin receptor molecules. Thus, the constitutive endocytosis of CD1b molecules and the differential sorting of MHC class II from lysosomes separate peptide- and lipid antigen-presenting molecules during dendritic cell maturation.
PMCID: PMC181574  PMID: 12925770
17.  Antigen Processing for MHC Class II Presentation via Autophagy 
T cells recognize proteolytic fragments of antigens that are presented to them on major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. MHC class I molecules present primarily products of proteasomal proteolysis to CD8+ T cells, while MHC class II molecules display mainly degradation products of lysosomes for stimulation of CD4+ T cells. Macroautophagy delivers intracellular proteins to lysosomal degradation, and contributes in this fashion to the pool of MHC class II displayed peptides. Both self- and pathogen-derived MHC class II ligands are generated by this pathway. In addition, however, recent evidence points also to regulation of extracellular antigen processing by macroautophagy. In this review, I will discuss these two aspects of antigen processing for MHC class II presentation via macroautophagy, namely its influence on intracellular and extracellular antigen presentation to CD4+ T cells.
PMCID: PMC3342365  PMID: 22566895
autophagosome; CD4+ T cell; amphisome; MHC class II containing compartment; lysosome
18.  Major histocompatibility complex class II-associated p41 invariant chain fragment is a strong inhibitor of lysosomal cathepsin L 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  1996;183(4):1331-1338.
The invariant chain (Ii) is associated with major histocompatibility complex class II molecules during early stages of their intracellular transport. In an acidic endosomal/lysosomal compartment, it is proteolytically cleaved and removed from class II heterodimers. Participation of aspartic and cysteine proteases has been observed in in vitro degradation of Ii, but the specific enzymes responsible for its in vivo processing are as yet undefined. We have previously isolated a noncovalent complex of the lysosomal cysteine protease cathepsin L with a peptide fragment derived from the p41 form of Ii from human kidney. Here we show that this Ii fragment, which is identical to the alternatively spliced segment of p41, is a very potent competitive inhibitor of cathepsin L (equilibrium inhibition constant Ki = 1.7 X 10(-12) M). It inhibits two other cysteine proteases, cathepsin H and papain, but to much lesser extent. Cysteine proteases cathepsins B, C, and S, as well as representatives of serine, aspartic, and metalloproteases, are not inhibited at all. These findings suggest a novel role for p41 in the regulation of various proteolytic activities during antigen processing and presentation. The Ii inhibitory fragment shows no sequence homology with the known cysteine protease inhibitors, and may, therefore, represent a new class.
PMCID: PMC2192513  PMID: 8666891
19.  HLA-DM Interactions with Intermediates in HLA-DR Maturation and a Role for HLA-DM in Stabilizing Empty HLA-DR Molecules 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  1996;184(6):2153-2166.
Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II–positive cell lines which lack HLA-DM expression accumulate class II molecules associated with residual invariant (I) chain fragments (class II–associated invariant chain peptides [CLIP]). In vitro, HLA-DM catalyzes CLIP dissociation from class II–CLIP complexes, promoting binding of antigenic peptides. Here the physical interaction of HLA-DM with HLA-DR molecules was investigated. HLA-DM complexes with class II molecules were detectable transiently in cells, peaking at the time when the class II molecules entered the MHC class II compartment. HLA-DR αβ dimers newly released from I chain, and those associated with I chain fragments, were found to associate with HLA-DM in vivo. Mature, peptide-loaded DR molecules also associated at a low level. These same species, but not DR-I chain complexes, were also shown to bind to purified HLA-DM molecules in vitro. HLA-DM interaction was quantitatively superior with DR molecules isolated in association with CLIP. DM-DR complexes generated by incubating HLA-DM with purified DR αβCLIP contained virtually no associated CLIP, suggesting that this superior interaction reflects a prolonged HLA-DM association with empty class II dimers after CLIP dissociation. Incubation of peptide-free αβ dimers in the presence of HLA-DM was found to prolong their ability to bind subsequently added antigenic peptides. Stabilization of empty class II molecules may be an important property of HLA-DM in facilitating antigen processing.
PMCID: PMC2196380  PMID: 8976171
20.  Chlamydia pneumoniae Secretion of a Protease-Like Activity Factor for Degrading Host Cell Transcription Factors Is Required for Major Histocompatibility Complex Antigen Expression  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(1):345-349.
Chlamydia pneumoniae is a causative agent for many respiratory infections and has been associated with cardiovascular diseases in humans. The pathogenicity of C. pneumoniae is thought to depend on its ability to cause persistent infection and to evade host defense. Genome sequence analysis indicates that C. pneumoniae encodes a homologue of a chlamydial protease-like activity factor from C. trachomatis (CPAFct). We designated the C. pneumoniae homologue as CPAFcp. Recombinant CPAFcp was produced and found to degrade RFX5, a host transcription factor required for major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigen expression. The degradation was inhibitable by lactacystin, an irreversible proteasome inhibitor. Furthermore, CPAFcp was secreted into host cytosol by C. pneumoniae organisms. Depletion of the C. pneumoniae-secreted CPAFcp with specific antibodies completely ablated the RFX5 degradation activity in the infected cells, suggesting that CPAFcp is necessary for the degradation of host transcription factors required for MHC antigen expression during C. pneumoniae infection. These observations have revealed a unique molecular mechanism for C. pneumoniae to evade host adaptive immunity that may aid in its persistence.
PMCID: PMC127637  PMID: 11748200
21.  Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus K3 Utilizes the Ubiquitin-Proteasome System in Routing Class I Major Histocompatibility Complexes to Late Endocytic Compartments 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(11):5522-5531.
Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8) downregulates major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I complexes from the plasma membrane via two of its genes, K3 and K5. The N termini of K3 and K5 contain a plant homeodomain (PHD) predicted to be structurally similar to RING domains found in E3 ubiquitin ligases. In view of the importance of the ubiquitin-proteasome system in sorting within the endocytic pathway, we analyzed its role in downregulation of MHC class I complexes in cells expressing K3. Proteasome inhibitors as well as cysteine and aspartyl protease inhibitors stabilize MHC class I complexes in cells expressing K3. However, proteasome inhibitors differentially affect sorting of MHC class I complexes within the endocytic pathway and prevent their delivery to a dense endosomal compartment. In this compartment, the cytoplasmic tail of MHC class I complexes is cleaved by cysteine proteases. The complex is then cleaved within the plane of the membrane by an aspartyl protease, resulting in a soluble MHC class I fragment composed of the lumenal domain of the heavy chain, β2-microglobulin (β2m), and peptide. We conclude that K3 not only directs internalization, but also targets MHC class I complexes to a dense endocytic compartment on the way to lysosomes in a ubiquitin-proteasome-dependent manner.
PMCID: PMC137062  PMID: 11991980
22.  Cytokines Regulate Proteolysis in Major Histocompatibility Complex Class II–Dependent Antigen Presentation by Dendritic Cells 
Endo/lysosomal proteases control two key events in antigen (Ag) presentation: the degradation of protein Ag and the generation of peptide-receptive major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules. Here we show that the proinflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor α and interleukin (IL)-1β rapidly increase the activity of cathepsin (cat) S and catB in human dendritic cells (DCs). As a consequence, a wave of MHC class II sodium dodecyl sulfate stable dimer formation ensues in a catS-dependent fashion. In contrast, the antiinflammatory cytokine IL-10 renders DCs incapable of upregulating catS and catB activity and in fact, attenuates the level of both enzymes. Suppressed catS and catB activity delays MHC class II sodium dodecyl sulfate stable dimer formation and impairs Ag degradation. In DCs exposed to tetanus toxoid, IL-10 accordingly reduces the number of MHC class II–peptide complexes accessible to tetanus toxoid–specific T cell receptors, as analyzed by measuring T cell receptor downregulation in Ag-specific T cell clones. Thus, the control of protease activity by pro- and antiinflammatory cytokines is an essential feature of the Ag presentation properties of DCs.
PMCID: PMC2193402  PMID: 11304549
antigen-presenting cell; cathepsin; class II maturation; antigen degradation; TCR
23.  Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 Nef Expression Induces Intracellular Accumulation of Multivesicular Bodies and Major Histocompatibility Complex Class II Complexes: Potential Role of Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2003;14(12):4857-4870.
Nef alters the cell surface expression of several immunoreceptors, which may contribute to viral escape. We show that Nef modifies major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II) intracellular trafficking and thereby its function. In the presence of Nef, mature, peptide-loaded MHC II were down-modulated at the cell surface and accumulated intracellularly, whereas immature (invariant [Ii] chain-associated) MHC II expression at the plasma membrane was increased. Antibody internalization experiments and subcellular fractionation analyses showed that immature MHC II were internalized from the plasma membrane but had limited access to lysosomes, explaining the reduced Ii chain degradation. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed that Nef expression induced a marked accumulation of multivesicular bodies (MVBs) containing Nef, MHC II, and high amounts of Ii chain. The Nef-induced up-regulation of surface Ii chain was inhibited by LY294002 exposure, indicating the involvement of a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, whose products play a key role in MVB biogenesis. Together, our results indicate that Nef induces an increase of the number of MVBs where MHC II complexes accumulate. Given that human immunodeficiency virus recruits the MVB machinery for its assembly process, our data raise the possibility that Nef is involved in viral assembly through its effect on MVBs.
PMCID: PMC284790  PMID: 13679518
24.  Distinct requirements for CD1d intracellular transport for development of Vα14 iNKT cells1 
The positive selection of Vα14 invariant (i)NKT cells in mice requires CD1dmediated antigen presentation by CD4+ CD8+ thymocytes. Maturation of newly selected iNKT cells continues in the periphery also involves CD1d expression. CD1d molecules acquire antigens for presentation in endosomal compartments, to which CD1d molecules have access through an intrinsic CD1d-encoded tyrosine motif and by association with the Class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) chaperone, invariant chain (Ii). We here report the generation of mice in which all CD1d is replaced by CD1d-enhanced yellow fluorescent fusion protein (EYFP). CD1d-EYFP molecules are stable, present lipid antigens and have near normal subcellular distribution. CD1d-EYFP molecules mediated positive selection of Vα14 iNKT cell precursors at decreased efficiency, caused a delay in their terminal maturation, and did not invoke Vα14 iNKT cell effector function as wild-type CD1d could. Using these mice, we show that the intrinsic CD1d-encoded sorting motif mediates thymic selection and activation of Vα14 iNKT cells by professional APCs, while for peripheral terminal differentiation the intrinsic CD1d sorting motif is dispensable.
PMCID: PMC2839504  PMID: 19587020
CD1d; intracellular trafficking; mouse; Vα14 invariant NKT cells
25.  Nippocystatin, a Cysteine Protease Inhibitor from Nippostrongylus brasiliensis, Inhibits Antigen Processing and Modulates Antigen-Specific Immune Response 
Infection and Immunity  2001;69(12):7380-7386.
During infection, parasites evade the host immune system by modulating or exploiting the immune system; e.g., they suppress expression of major histocompatibility complex class II molecules or secrete cytokine-like molecules. However, it is not clear whether helminths disturb the immune responses of their hosts by controlling the antigen-processing pathways of the hosts. In this study, we identified a new cysteine protease inhibitor, nippocystatin, derived from excretory-secretory (ES) products of an intestinal nematode, Nippostrongylus brasiliensis. Nippocystatin, which belongs to cystatin family 2, consists of 144 amino acids and is secreted as a 14-kDa mature form. In vivo treatment of ovalbumin (OVA)-immunized mice with recombinant nippocystatin (rNbCys) profoundly suppressed OVA-specific proliferation of splenocytes but not non-antigen-specific proliferation of splenocytes. OVA-specific cytokine production was also greatly suppressed in rNbCys-treated mice. Although the serum levels of both OVA-specific immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) and IgG2a were not affected by rNbCys treatment, OVA-specific IgE was preferentially downregulated in rNbCys-treated mice. In vitro rNbCys inhibited processing of OVA by lysosomal cysteine proteases from the spleens of mice. Mice with anti-nippocystatin antibodies became partially resistant to infection with N. brasiliensis. Based on these findings, N. brasiliensis appears to skillfully evade host immune systems by secreting nippocystatin, which modulates antigen processing in antigen-presenting cells of hosts.
PMCID: PMC98825  PMID: 11705911

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