In the absence of aminopeptidase ERAAP, MHC class I molecules present many unstable and highly immunogenic peptides

Nat Immunol. 2007 Jan;8(1):101-8. doi: 10.1038/ni1409. Epub 2006 Nov 26.


Immunosurveillance by cytotoxic T cells requires that cells generate a diverse spectrum of peptides for presentation by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules. Those peptides are generated by proteolysis, which begins in the cytoplasm and continues in the endoplasmic reticulum by the unique aminopeptidase ERAAP. The overall extent to which trimming by ERAAP modifies the peptide pool and the immunological consequences of ERAAP deficiency are unknown. Here we show that the peptide-MHC repertoire of ERAAP-deficient mice was missing many peptides. Furthermore, ERAAP-deficient cells presented many unstable and structurally unique peptide-MHC complexes, which elicited potent CD8+ T cell and B cell responses. Thus, ERAAP is a 'quintessential editor' of the peptide-MHC repertoire and, paradoxically, its absence enhances immunogenicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / immunology*
  • Leucyl Aminopeptidase / deficiency*
  • Leucyl Aminopeptidase / genetics
  • Ligands
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Peptides / immunology*


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Ligands
  • Peptides
  • Leucyl Aminopeptidase
  • puromycin-insensitive leucyl-specific aminopeptidase