Presentation of viral antigen by MHC class I molecules is dependent on a putative peptide transporter heterodimer.
Spies T., Cerundolo V., Colonna M., Cresswell P., Townsend A., DeMars R.
Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules present peptides derived from the endogenous protein pool to cytotoxic T lymphocytes, which can thus recognize intracellular antigen. This pathway may depend on a transporter (PSF1) to mediate entry of the cytosolic peptides into a pre-Golgi compartment where they bind to class I heavy chains and promote their stable assembly with beta 2-microglobulin. There is, however, only indirect support for this function of PSF1. Here we show that PSF1 is necessary for the efficient assembly of class I molecules and enables them to present a peptide epitope derived from endogenously synthesized viral antigen. Immunochemical and genetic data demonstrate that the PSF1 polypeptide is associated with a complementary transporter chain, which is polymorphic and is encoded by the PSF2 gene, which is closely linked to PSF1.