Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 11093141
Eur. J. Immunol. 2000 Nov;30(11):3256-65
CD8(+) T lymphocytes, which are major immune effectors, require primary stimulation by dendritic cells (DC) presenting MHC class I molecule-bound epitopes. Sensitization to exogenous protein epitopes that are not synthesized in DC, such as cross-priming, is obtained through pathways leading to their association with MHC class I. To follow class I-restricted pathways in human DC, we have tracked a lipopeptide derived from the conserved HLA-A*0201-restricted HIV-1 reverse transcriptase 476-484 epitope, by N-terminal addition of an Nepsilon-palmytoyl-lysine. Indeed, lipopeptides elicit cytotoxic responses from CD8(+) T lymphocytes, whereas peptides without a lipid moiety do not. The lipopeptide and its parent peptide were labeled unequivocally by rhodamine to study their entry into immature monocyte-derived human DC by confocal microscopy. The lipid moiety induced endocytosis of the lipopeptide, assessed by rapid entry into vesicles, colocalization with Dextran-FITC and dependence on energy. Internalization occurred even when actin filaments were depolymerized by Cytochalasin B. This internalization induced functional stimulation of specific CD8(+) T lymphocytes in IFN-gamma ELISPOT assays. The peptide alone was not visualized inside the DC and was presented through direct surface association to HLA-A*0201. Therefore, lipopeptides are a unique opportunity to define precisely the pathways that lead exogenous proteins to associate with MHC class I molecules in DC. The results will also be useful to design lipopeptide vaccines.