The MHC class I antigen presentation pathway: strategies for viral immune evasion

Immunology. 2003 Oct;110(2):163-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2567.2003.01738.x.


Presumably because of the selective pressure exerted by the immune system, many viruses have evolved proteins that interfere with antigen presentation by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules. These viruses utilize a whole variety of ingenious strategies to inhibit the MHC class I pathway. Viral proteins have been characterized that exploit bottlenecks in the MHC class I pathway, such as peptide translocation by the transporter associated with antigen processing. Alternatively, viral proteins can cause the degradation or mislocalization of MHC class I molecules. This is often achieved by the subversion of the host cell's own protein degradation and trafficking pathways. As a consequence elucidation of how these viral proteins act to subvert host cell function will continue to give important insights not only into virus-host interactions but also the function and mechanism of cellular pathways.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigen Presentation / immunology
  • Down-Regulation / immunology
  • Herpesviridae Infections / immunology*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance*


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I