Cell-based vaccines consisting of invariant chain-negative tumor cells transfected with syngeneic MHC class II (MHC II) and costimulatory molecule genes are prophylactic and therapeutic agents for the treatment of murine primary and metastatic cancers. Vaccine efficacy is due to direct presentation of endogenously synthesized, MHC II-restricted tumor peptides to CD4+ T cells. Because the vaccine cells lack invariant chain, we have hypothesized that, unlike professional APC, the peptide-binding groove of newly synthesized MHC II molecules may be accessible to peptides, allowing newly synthesized MHC II molecules to bind peptides that have been generated in the proteasome and transported into the endoplasmic reticulum via the TAP complex. To test this hypothesis, we have compared the Ag presentation activity of multiple clones of TAP-negative and TAP-positive tumor cells transfected with I-Ak genes and the model Ag hen egg white lysozyme targeted to the endoplasmic reticulum or cytoplasm. Absence of TAP does not diminish Ag presentation of three hen egg white lysozyme epitopes. Likewise, cells treated with proteasomal and autophagy inhibitors are as effective APC as untreated cells. In contrast, drugs that block endosome function significantly inhibit Ag presentation. Coculture experiments demonstrate that the vaccine cells do not release endogenously synthesized molecules that are subsequently endocytosed and processed in endosomal compartments. Collectively, these data indicate that vaccine cell presentation of MHC II-restricted endogenously synthesized epitopes occurs via a mechanism independent of the proteasome and TAP complex, and uses a pathway that overlaps with the classical endosomal pathway for presentation of exogenously synthesized molecules.
Dissanayake, S. K., Tuera, N., & Ostrand-Rosenberg, S. (2014). Presentation of Endogenously Synthesized MHC Class II-Restricted Epitopes by MHC Class II Cancer Vaccines Is Independent of Transporter Associated with Ag Processing and the Proteasome. The Journal of Immunology, 174(4), 1811–1819. https://doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.174.4.1811