Vaccination and the TAP-independent antigen processing pathways

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The cytotoxic CD8+ T lymphocyte-mediated cellular response is important for the elimination of virus-infected cells and requires the prior recognition of short viral peptide antigens previously translocated to the endoplasmic reticulum by the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP). However, individuals with nonfunctional TAP complexes or infected cells with TAP molecules blocked by specific viral proteins, such as the cowpoxvirus, a component of the first source of early empirical vaccination against smallpox, are still able to present several HLA class I ligands generated by the TAP-independent antigen processing pathways to specific cytotoxic CD8+ T lymphocytes. Currently, bioterrorism and emerging infectious diseases have renewed interest in poxviruses. Recent works that have identified HLA class I ligands and epitopes in virus-infected TAP-deficient cells have implications for the study of both the effectiveness of early empirical vaccination and the analysis of HLA class I antigen processing in TAP-deficient subjects.

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