Class I HLA folding and antigen presentation in β2- microglobulin-defective daudi cells

Aline Martayan, Leonardo Sibilio, Elisa Tremante, Elisa Lo Monaco, Arend Mulder, Doriana Fruci, Agata Cova, Licia Rivoltini, Patrizio Giacomini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To present virus and tumor Ags, HLA class I molecules undergo a complex multistep assembly involving discrete but transient folding intermediates. The most extensive folding abnormalities occur in cells lacking the class I L chain subunit, called β2-microglobulin (β2m). Herein, this issue was investigated taking advantage of eight conformational murine mAbs (including the prototypic W6/32 mAb) to mapped H chain epitopes of class I molecules, four human mAbs to class I alloantigens, as well as radioimmunoprecipitation, in vitro assembly, pulse-chase, flow cytometry, and peptide-pulse/ELISPOT experiments. We show that endogenous (HLA-A1, -A66, and -B58) as well as transfected (HLA-A2) heavy chains in β2m- defective Burkitt lymphoma Daudi cells are capable of being expressed on the cell surface, although at low levels, and exclusively as immature glycoforms. In addition, HLA-A2 is: 1) partially folded at crucial interfaces with β2m, peptide Ag, and CD8; 2) receptive to exogenous peptide; and 3) capable of presenting exogenous peptide epitopes (from virus and tumor Ags) to cytotoxic T lymphocytes (bulk populations as well as clones) educated in a β2m-positive environment. These experiments demonstrate a precursor-product relationship between novel HLA class I folding intermediates, and define a stepwise mechanism whereby distinct interfaces of the class I H chain undergo successive, ligand-induced folding adjustments in vitro as well as in vivo. Due to this unprecedented class I plasticity, Daudi is the first human cell line in which folding and function of class I HLA molecules are observed in the absence of β2m. These findings bear potential implications for tumor immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3609-3617
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Medicine(all)


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