The generation of many HLA class I peptides entails a final trimming step in the endoplasmic reticulum that, in humans, is accomplished by two 'candidate' aminopeptidases. We show here that one of these, ERAP1, was unable to remove several N-terminal amino acids that were trimmed efficiently by the second enzyme, ERAP2. This trimming of a longer peptide required the concerted action of both ERAP1 and ERAP2, both for in vitro digestion and in vivo for cellular antigen presentation. ERAP1 and ERAP2 localized together in vivo and associated physically in complexes that were most likely heterodimeric. Thus, the human endoplasmic reticulum is equipped with a pair of trimming aminopeptidases that have complementary functions in HLA class I peptide presentation.
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