The effect of abundance and compartmentalization of antigenic epitopes expressed in Escherichia coli on phagocytic processing was studied by expressing fusion proteins containing the epitope from positions 52 to 61 of hen egg white lysozyme [HEL(52-61)], which binds the I-A(k) murine major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC-II) molecule or the epitope from positions 257 to 264 of chicken egg ovalbumin [OVA(257-264)], which binds the Kb murine MHC-I molecule. Epitopes expressed as fusion proteins in the outer membrane protein LamB allowed exposure of the epitopes either at the bacterial surface, in the periplasmic space, or in the cytoplasm. Regardless of epitope compartmentalization within the bacterium, MHC-II-restricted or MHC-I-restricted presentation to T hybridoma cells occurred after macrophages phagocytosed bacteria producing the HEL(52-61) epitope or the OVA(257-264) epitope, respectively. Increased epitope abundance within a given microbial compartment resulted in increased processing and presentation to epitope- specific T hybridoma cells. Minor differences in the efficiency of epitope processing between the constructs was observed, and the HEL or OVA epitope exposed in the periplasmic space was processed most efficiently compared with the surface- or cytoplasm-localized epitopes. These differences could be overcome by increasing the amount of epitope per bacterium as little as two to five times. The minor differences in processing efficiency may be due to differing protein contexts of the epitope as well as differing epitope compartmentalizations within the bacteria. Thus, production of abundant epitope is the important parameter influencing processing of epitopes expressed in E. coli to induce T-cell responses rather than targeting of an epitope to a specific bacterial compartment.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Infection and immunity|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1993|