HIV-1 envelope protein is expressed on the surface of infected cells before its processing and presentation to class II-restricted T lymphocytes

K. M. Callahan, J. F. Rowell, M. J. Soloski, C. E. Machamer, R. F. Siliciano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


T lymphocytes are activated upon binding of their Ag receptors to a complex of Ag-derived peptides and MHC class I or class II molecules expressed on the surface of APC. It is now well established that APC degrade exogenous Ag in acidic endosomal compartments, and that Ag fragments bind to class II molecules moving through these compartments on their way to the surface of the APC. Although peptides derived from some endogenous Ag can also bind to class II molecules and subsequently be recognized by class II- restricted T cells, the intracellular trafficking pathways that enable endogenous proteins to be processed for association with class II molecules remain controversial. We have analyzed the mechanism by which the envelope (env) protein of the HIV-1 is processed in infected cells for recognition by class II-restricted T cells. A large number of env-specific class II- restricted human CTL clones were shown to lyse B-lymphoblastoid cell lines expressing the env. A novel dilutional assay proved that recognition of endogenous env protein was not a consequence of release and re-uptake of the env protein and subsequent processing by the standard class II-restricted pathway. Processing of endogenous env protein required that the protein be co-translationally translocated into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and then exit the ER, since the class II-restricted CTL did not recognize env protein localized to the cytosol or retained in the ER of target cells. Under these conditions, however, class I-restricted recognition was readily demonstrated. Finally, class II-restricted recognition was strikingly dependent upon the steady state level of surface env protein, since extracellular reagents that removed intact env protein from the surface of target cells inhibited recognition. This inhibition operated at the Ag-processing level rather than at the level of subsequent Ag recognition. These results provide the first direct evidence that endogenously synthesized membrane proteins enter the class II-restricted Ag-processing pathway after expression on the cell surface in an intact form.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2928-2942
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'HIV-1 envelope protein is expressed on the surface of infected cells before its processing and presentation to class II-restricted T lymphocytes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this