The ubiquitin–proteasome system plays essential roles in presenting an 8-mer CTL epitope expressed in APC to corresponding CD8+ T cells

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MUT1 is an H-2Kb-restricted 8-mer CTL epitope expressed in Lewis lung carcinoma (3LL) tumor cells derived from C57BL/6 (B6) mice. We constructed a chimeric gene encoding ubiquitin-fused MUT1 (pUB-MUT1). By using a gene gun, B6 mice were immunized with the gene prior to challenge with 3LL tumor cells. Tumor growth and lung metastasis were prominently suppressed in mice immunized with pUB-MUT1 but only slightly in those immunized with the MUT1 gene (pMUT) alone. CD8+ T cells were confirmed to be the final effector by in vitro experiments and in vivo removal of the cells with a corresponding antibody. Anti-tumor immunity was profoundly suppressed in mice deficient in an immuno-subunit of proteasome, LMP7. Furthermore, mice deficient in a proteasome regulator, PA28α/β, failed to acquire protective immunity. Thus, application of the ubiquitin-fusion degradation pathway was useful even in immunization with genes encoding a single CTL epitope for induction of specific and active CD8+ T cells.

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