DNA damage promotes HLA class I presentation by stimulating a pioneer round of translation-associated antigen production

Mol Cell. 2022 May 13;S1097-2765(22)00393-8. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2022.04.030. Online ahead of print.


Antigen presentation by the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) on the cell surface is critical for the transduction of the immune signal toward cytotoxic T lymphocytes. DNA damage upregulates HLA class I presentation; however, the mechanism is unclear. Here, we show that DNA-damage-induced HLA (di-HLA) presentation requires an immunoproteasome, PSMB8/9/10, and antigen-transporter, TAP1/2, demonstrating that antigen production is essential. Furthermore, we show that di-HLA presentation requires ATR, AKT, mTORC1, and p70-S6K signaling. Notably, the depletion of CBP20, a factor initiating the pioneer round of translation (PRT) that precedes nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD), abolishes di-HLA presentation, suggesting that di-antigen production requires PRT. RNA-seq analysis demonstrates that DNA damage reduces NMD transcripts in an ATR-dependent manner, consistent with the requirement for ATR in the initiation of PRT/NMD. Finally, bioinformatics analysis identifies that PRT-derived 9-mer peptides bind to HLA and are potentially immunogenic. Therefore, DNA damage signaling produces immunogenic antigens by utilizing the machinery of PRT/NMD.

Keywords: ATR; DNA damage; antigen production; di-HLA presentation; human leukocyte antigen; nonsense-mediated mRNA decay; pioneer round of translation.