The recognition of virus-infected cells by class I MHC-restricted cytotoxic T cells requires endogenous processing of antigen for presentation. It is still unclear whether endogenous processing of antigen can be utilized by class II MHC molecules for presentation. To test this possibility, a human B cell line expressing HLA-A2 and HLA-DR1 was infected with a recombinant vaccinia virus expressing the Influenza A virus M1 matrix protein (VAC-M1) and was assayed for lysis by different M1-specific cytolytic T cell lines, restricted by either HLA-A2 or by HLA-DR1. Class II-restricted lysis of VAC-M1-infected cells did occur. This lysis required de novo M1 synthesis and was not due to exogenous antigen. Several properties of the endogenous processing pathway for class II-restricted presentation were different from those of the pathway utilized by class I molecules. First, class II-mediated recognition of VAC-M1 infected cells was less efficient, requiring higher doses of virus and longer infection times, than the class I-mediated recognition. Second, chloroquine completely blocked presentation of endogenous M1 to class II-restricted T cells but had no effect on the class I-restricted presentation. Third, the class II-restricted presentation of M1 was only mildly affected by Brefeldin A, a drug that prevents transport from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi, whereas the class I-restricted presentation of M1 was completely abrogated by this drug. These data demonstrate the existence of an endogenous processing pathway for the presentation of cytosolic antigen by class II molecules and show that this pathway is distinct from the one used for presentation by class I molecules.

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