Defective presentation of MHC class I-restricted cytotoxic T-cell epitopes in Burkitt's lymphoma cells

Teresa Frisan, Qian Jin Zhang, Jelena Levitskaya, Michael Coram, Michael G. Kurilla, Maria G. Masucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Defects of antigen processing/presentation have been suggested to play a role in the escape of Burkitt's lymphoma (BL) from cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL)-mediated rejection. Impaired presentation of an immunodominant HLA A11-restricted epitope from the resident or recombinant vaccinia virus-expressed Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen (EBNA)4 was demonstrated in the EBV-positive E95B-BL28 and its EBV-negative parental BL28 cell lines. We have investigated whether this was due to (i) impaired production of the antigenic peptide, (ii) poor peptide translocation into the ER lumen or (iii) inefficient maturation and transport of the MHC-peptide complexes at the cell surface. The defect was not overcome by cytosolic expression of a pre-formed epitope, suggesting that presentation of EBNA4 is not limited by inefficient production of the antigenic peptide. BL28 expressed 5- to 10-fold lower levels of the transporter associated with antigen presentation (TAP) 1 and TAP2 proteins and behaved poorly in a streptolysin-O-mediated peptide translocation assay, whereas E95B-BL28 showed higher TAP expression and virtually normal transporter function. Up-regulation of HLA A11 and reconstitution of TAP activity by treatment with IFN-γ did not restore presentation of the resident EBNA4 in E95B-BL28 and did not enhance presentation of the vaccinia virus-expressed intact protein or preformed epitope. Efficient maturation of class I molecules to Endo H-resistant species was demonstrated in pulse-chase experiments. Taken together, our findings identify a previously uncharacterized defect of antigen presentation which appears to affect events occurring after proteasomal degradation but before TAP dependent peptide transport and MHC class I assembly and maturation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-258
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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