During antigen processing, peptides are generated and displayed in the context of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules on the surface of antigen-presenting cells (APCs) to modulate immune responses to foreign antigens and guide self-tolerance. Exogenous and cytoplasmic antigens are processed by distinct routes within APCs to yield class II ligands. Exogenous antigens are internalized, processed, and bound to class II molecules within endosomal and lysosomal compartments of APCs. Studies reviewed here demonstrate the importance of reduction in regulating exogenous antigen presentation. The differential expression of a γ-interferon-inducible lysosomal thiol reductase in professional APCs and melanomas is discussed in the context of tumor immune evasion. Cytoplasmic autoantigens, by contrast, are degraded by the proteasome and other enzymes in the cytosol, with the resulting peptides translocating to endosomal and lysosomal compartments for intersection with class II molecules. Processing and editing of these antigenic peptides within endosomes and lysosomes may be critical in regulating their display via class II proteins. Multiple pathways may regulate the transit of cytosolic peptides to class II molecules. The role of lysosome-associated membrane protein-2a and heat-shock cognate protein 70 in promoting cytoplasmic peptide presentation by MHC class II molecules is discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy