Transpeptidation and reverse proteolysis and their consequences for immunity

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2009 Jan;41(1):66-71. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2008.08.036. Epub 2008 Sep 4.


Reverse proteolysis and transpeptidation lead to the generation of polypeptide sequences that cannot be inferred directly from genome sequences as they are post-translational phenomena. These phenomena have so far received little attention although the physiological consequences may reach far. The protease-mediated synthesis of several immunodominant MHC class I antigens was recently reported, underscoring its importance to immunity. Reverse proteolytic and transpeptidation mechanisms as well as conditions that favor successful protease-catalyzed synthetic events are discussed here.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation*
  • Catalysis
  • Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / immunology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunity / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Peptides / chemistry*
  • Peptides / immunology
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Peptides
  • Endopeptidases