Bacterial capsular polysaccharides are virulence factors and are considered T cell-independent antigens. However, the capsular polysaccharide Sp1 from Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 1 has been shown to activate CD4+ T cells in a major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-dependent manner. The mechanism of carbohydrate presentation to CD4+ T cells is unknown. We show in live murine dendritic cells (DCs) that Sp1 translocates from lysosomal compartments to the plasma membrane in MHCII-positive tubules. Sp1 cell surface presentation results in reduction of self-peptide presentation without alteration of the MHCII self peptide repertoire. In DM-deficient mice, retrograde transport of Sp1/MHCII complexes resulting in T cell-dependent immune responses to the polysaccharide in vitro and in vivo is significantly reduced. The results demonstrate the capacity of a bacterial capsular polysaccharide antigen to use DC tubules as a vehicle for its transport as an MHCII/saccharide complex to the cell surface for the induction of T cell activation. Furthermore, retrograde transport requires the functional role of DM in self peptide-carbohydrate exchange. These observations open new opportunities for the design of vaccines against microbial encapsulated pathogens. © 2007 Stephen et al.
Stephen, T. L., Fabri, M., Groneck, L., Röhn, T. A., Hafke, H., Robinson, N., … Kalka-Moll, W. M. (2007). Transport of Streptococcus pneumoniae capsular polysaccharide in MHC class II tubules. PLoS Pathogens, 3(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.0030032