Class I-restricted presentation of an HIV-1 gp41 epitope containing an N-Linked glycosylation site: Implications for the mechanism of processing of viral envelope proteins

Robert L. Ferris, Christopher Buck, Scott A. Hammond, Amina S. Woods, Robert J. Cotter, Masafumi Takiguchi, Yasuhiro Igarashi, Yoshitaka Ichikawa, Robert F Siliciano

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Uncertainty exists over the site of processing of viral envelope (env) proteins for recognition by CTL. The extracellular domains of env proteins are not present in the cytosol, the site where the class I Ag processing pathway begins. Rather, the ecto-domains of env proteins are cotranslationally translocated into the endoplasmic reticulum during biosynthesis. To clarify the site of processing of viral env proteins, we examined the processing of an HLA B*3501-restricted epitope in the extracellular domain of the HIV-1 env protein. Although this epitope contains an N-linked glycosylation signal sequence, CTL specific for this epitope recognize a nonameric peptide that has not been previously modified by attachment of oligosaccharide. This was demonstrated in two ways. First, an env-specific B*3501-restricted CTL clone recognized a nonglycosylated, synthetic nonamer representing the minimal B*3501-restricted epitope, but not the glycosylated or deglycosylated forms. Second, the naturally processed, B*3501-restricted, env peptide is identical with a nonglycosylated, synthetic nonamer. Thus, the naturally processed form of an env epitope containing an N-linked glycosylation site is derived from env protein that is not glycosylated at the relevant asparagine during biosynthesis. Since the addition of N-linked oligosaccharides occurs only after the glycosylation signal sequence (N-X-S/T) is translocated into the endoplasmic reticulum, the initial processing reaction for this epitope may take place in the cytosol. Low-frequency failure of signal sequence containing polypeptides to engage the translocation apparatus, resulting in synthesis and degradation in the cytosol, may represent an important mechanism for the generation of class I-restricted CTL responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)834-840
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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