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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Role for cathepsin F in invariant chain processing and major histocompatibility complex class II peptide loading by macrophages.

The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-associated invariant chain (Ii) regulates intracellular trafficking and peptide loading of MHC class II molecules. Such loading occurs after endosomal degradation of the invariant chain to a approximately 3-kD peptide termed CLIP (class II-associated invariant chain peptide). Cathepsins L and S have both been implicated in degradation of Ii to CLIP in thymus and peripheral lymphoid organs, respectively. However, macrophages from mice deficient in both cathepsins S and L can process Ii and load peptides onto MHC class II dimers normally. Both processes are blocked by a cysteine protease inhibitor, indicating the involvement of an additional Ii-processing enzyme(s). Comparison of cysteine proteases expressed by macrophages with those found in splenocytes and dendritic cells revealed two enzymes expressed exclusively in macrophages, cathepsins Z and F. Recombinant cathepsin Z did not generate CLIP from Ii-MHC class II complexes, whereas cathepsin F was as efficient as cathepsin S in CLIP generation. Inhibition of cathepsin F activity and MHC class II peptide loading by macrophages exhibited similar specificity and activity profiles. These experiments show that cathepsin F, in a subset of antigen presenting cells (APCs), can efficiently degrade Ii. Different APCs can thus use distinct proteases to mediate MHC class II maturation and peptide loading.[1]


  1. Role for cathepsin F in invariant chain processing and major histocompatibility complex class II peptide loading by macrophages. Shi, G.P., Bryant, R.A., Riese, R., Verhelst, S., Driessen, C., Li, Z., Bromme, D., Ploegh, H.L., Chapman, H.A. J. Exp. Med. (2000) [Pubmed]
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