Compartmentalization of bacterial antigens: differential effects on priming of CD8 T cells and protective immunity

Cell. 1998 Feb 20;92(4):535-45. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)80946-0.


Bacterial pathogens synthesize numerous proteins that are either secreted or localized within bacterial cells. To address the impact of antigen compartmentalization on T cell immunity, we constructed recombinant Listeria monocytogenes that express a model CD8T cell epitope as a secreted or nonsecreted fusion protein. Both forms of the antigen, either secreted into the host cell cytoplasm or retained within bacterial cells, efficiently prime CD8 T cell responses. However, epitope-specific CD8 T cells confer protection only against bacteria secreting the antigen but not against the bacteria expressing the nonsecreted form of the same antigen. This dichotomy as a result of antigen compartmentalization suggests that bacterial antigens are presented by multiple MHC class I pathways to prime CD8 T cells, but only the endogenous pathway provides target antigens for CD8 T cell-mediated protective immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Antigens, Bacterial / metabolism
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / microbiology*
  • Cell Compartmentation / immunology*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Immunity, Active / immunology*
  • Immunologic Memory / immunology
  • Listeria monocytogenes / genetics
  • Listeria monocytogenes / immunology
  • Listeriosis / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / immunology
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Epitopes
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins