Endoplasmic Reticulum Associated Aminopeptidase 2 (ERAP2) is released in the secretome of activated MDMs and reduces in vitro HIV-1 infection

Irma Saulle, Salomè Valentina Ibba, Enrica Torretta, Cecilia Vittori, Claudio Fenizia, Federica Piancone, Davide Minisci, Elisa Maria Lori, Daria Trabattoni, Cecilia Gelfi, Mario Clerici, Mara Biasin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Haplotype-specific alternative splicing of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) aminopeptidase type 2 (ERAP2) gene results in either full-length (FL, haplotype A) or alternatively spliced (AS, haplotype B) mRNA. HapA/HapA homozygous (HomoA) subjects show a reduced susceptibility to HIV-1 infection, probably secondary to the modulation of the antigen processing/presenting machinery. ERAP1 was recently shown to be secreted from the plasma membrane in response to activation; we investigated whether ERAP2 can be released as well and if the secreted form of this enzyme retains its antiviral function. Methods: Human monocyte derived macrophages (MDMs) were differentiated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolated from 6 HomoA healthy controls and stimulated with IFNγ and LPS. ERAP2-FL secretion was evaluated by mass spectrometry. PBMCs (14 HomoA and 16 HomoB) and CD8-depleted PBMCs (CD8-PBMCs) (4 HomoA and 4 HomoB) were in vitro HIV-infected in the absence/presence of recombinant human ERAP2-FL (rhERAP2) protein; p24 viral antigen quantification was used to assess viral replication. IFNγ and CD69 mRNA expression, as well as the percentage of perforin-producing CD8+ T Lymphocytes, were analyzed 3 and 7-days post in vitro HIV-1-infection, respectively. The effect of rhERAP2 addition in cell cultures on T cell apoptosis, proliferation, activation, and maturation was evaluated as well on 24 h-stimulated PBMCs. Results: ERAP2 can be secreted from human MDMs in response to IFNγ/LPS stimulation. Notably, the addition of rhERAP2 to PBMC and CD8-PBMC cultures resulted in the reduction of viral replication, though these differences were statistically significant only in PBMCs (p < 0.05 in both HomoA and HomoB). This protective effect was associated with an increase in IFNγ and CD69 mRNA expression and in the percentage of perforin-expressing CD107+CD8+ cells. RhERAP2 addition also resulted in an increase in CD8+ activated lymphocyte (CD25+HLA-DRII+) and Effector Memory/Terminally differentiated CD8+ T cells ratio. Conclusions: This is the first report providing evidence for the release of ERAP2 in the secretome of immunocompetent cells. Data herein also indicate that exogenous ERAP2-FL exerts its protective function against HIV-1 infection, even in HomoB subjects who do not genetically produce it. Presumably, this defensive extracellular feature is only partially dependent on immune system modulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1648
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Issue numberJULY
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2019


  • CTL
  • ERAP2
  • Haplotype
  • HIV-1
  • IFNγ
  • Immune system
  • MDM
  • Secretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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