FT Ilca, A Neerincx, MR Wills, M de la Roche, LH Boyle
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
The repertoire of peptides displayed at the cell surface by MHC I molecules is shaped by two intracellular peptide editors, tapasin and TAPBPR. While cell-free assays have proven extremely useful in identifying the function of both of these proteins, here we explored whether a more physiological system could be developed to assess TAPBPR-mediated peptide editing on MHC I. We reveal that membrane-associated TAPBPR targeted to the plasma membrane retains its ability to function as a peptide editor and efficiently catalyzes peptide exchange on surface-expressed MHC I molecules. Additionally, we show that soluble TAPBPR, consisting of the luminal domain alone, added to intact cells, also functions as an effective peptide editor on surface MHC I molecules. Thus, we have established two systems in which TAPBPR-mediated peptide exchange on MHC class I can be interrogated. Furthermore, we could use both plasma membrane-targeted and exogenous soluble TAPBPR to display immunogenic peptides on surface MHC I molecules and consequently induce T cell receptor engagement, IFN-γ secretion, and T cell-mediated killing of target cells. Thus, we have developed an efficient way to by-pass the natural antigen presentation pathway of cells and load immunogenic peptides of choice onto cells. Our findings highlight a potential therapeutic use for TAPBPR in increasing the immunogenicity of tumors in the future.