Epitopes of the class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC-I) recognized in the syngeneic or allogeneic context predominantly linked to antigenic peptide loading to its binding groove

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Class1 major histocompatibility complex (MHC-I)–antigenic peptide exposed at the target cell surface is crucial for the adaptive immune response exerted in the self/syngeneic context by cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL). Such a complex also provides epitopes in the allogeneic context for antibody response directed against the MHC-I polymorphic determinant. In the present report we examined the formation of the MHC-I–peptide complex leading predominantly to the expression of T and/or B cell epitopes in a process of internal versus external antigenic peptide loading onto the binding groove of MHC-I. Analyses using antibodies specific to complex MHC-I–peptide generated in the syngeneic context to mimic T cell receptor (TCR) in comparison with antibodies specific to the MHC-I polymorphic determinant allowed the observation that the external peptide loading to MHC-I, while remaining necessary for inducing the formation of B cell epitopes, was less efficient than the internal one for generating T cell epitopes. Thus, external loading of peptide to the MHC-I appeared to match more closely the allogeneic situation and the humoral immunity in general, while internal peptide loading corresponded with the self/syngeneic context of the cellular CTL response.

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