Structural determinants of peptide-dependent TAP1-TAP2 transit passage targeted by viral proteins and altered by cancer-associated mutations

Comput Struct Biotechnol J. 2021 Sep 9;19:5072-5091. doi: 10.1016/j.csbj.2021.09.006. eCollection 2021.


The TAP1-TAP2 complex transports antigenic peptide substrates into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). In ER, the peptides are further processed and loaded on the major histocompatibility class (MHC) I molecules by the peptide loading complex (PLC). The TAP transporters are linked with the PLC; a target for cancers and viral immune evasion. But the mechanisms whereby the cancer-derived mutations in TAP1-TAP2 or viral factors targeting the PLC, interfere peptide transport are only emerging. This study describes that transit of peptides through TAP can take place via two different channels (4 or 8 helices) depending on peptide length and sequence. Molecular dynamics and binding affinity predictions of peptide-transporters demonstrated that smaller peptides (8-10 mers; e.g. AAGIGILTV, SIINFEKL) can transport quickly through the transport tunnel compared to longer peptides (15-mer; e.g. ENPVVHFFKNIVTPR). In line with a regulated and selective peptide transport by TAPs, the immunopeptidome upon IFN-γ treatment in melanoma cells induced the shorter length (9-mer) peptide presentation over MHC-I that exhibit a relatively weak binding affinity with TAP. A conserved distance between N and C terminus residues of the studied peptides in the transport tunnel were reported. Furthermore, by adversely interacting with the TAP transport passage or affecting TAPNBD domains tilt movement, the viral proteins and cancer-derived mutations in TAP1-TAP2 may induce allosteric effects in TAP that block conformation of the tunnel (closed towards ER lumen). Interestingly, some cancer-associated mutations (e.g. TAP1R372Q and TAP2R373H) can specifically interfere with selective transport channels (i.e. for longer-peptides). These results provide a model for how viruses and cancer-associated mutations targeting TAP interfaces can affect MHC-I antigen presentation, and how the IFN-γ pathway alters MHC-I antigen presentation via the kinetics of peptide transport.

Keywords: Cancer mutations; IFN-γ; Immunopeptidome; In silico peptide screening; Kinetics; MHC-I; Molecular dynamics; Peptide; TAP1; TAP2; Transporters; Viral factors.