Langerin is required for the biogenesis of Birbeck granules (BGs), the characteristic organelles of Langerhans cells. We previously used a Langerin-YFP fusion protein having a C-terminal luminal YFP tag to dynamically decipher the molecular and cellular processes which accompany the traffic of Langerin. In order to elucidate the interactions of Langerin with its trafficking effectors and their structural impact on the biogenesis of BGs, we generated a YFP-Langerin chimera with an N-terminal, cytosolic YFP tag. This latter fusion protein induced the formation of YFP-positive large puncta. Live cell imaging coupled to a fluorescence recovery after photobleaching approach showed that this coalescence of proteins in newly formed compartments was static. In contrast, the YFP-positive structures present in the pericentriolar region of cells expressing Langerin-YFP chimera, displayed fluorescent recovery characteristics compatible with active membrane exchanges. Using correlative light-electron microscopy we showed that the coalescent structures represented highly organized stacks of membranes with a pentalaminar architecture typical of BGs. Continuities between these organelles and the rough endoplasmic reticulum allowed us to identify the stacks of membranes as a form of "Organized Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum" (OSER), with distinct molecular and physiological properties. The involvement of homotypic interactions between cytoplasmic YFP molecules was demonstrated using an A206K variant of YFP, which restored most of the Langerin traffic and BG characteristics observed in Langerhans cells. Mutation of the carbohydrate recognition domain also blocked the formation of OSER. Hence, a "double-lock" mechanism governs the behavior of YFP-Langerin, where asymmetric homodimerization of the YFP tag and homotypic interactions between the lectin domains of Langerin molecules participate in its retention and the subsequent formation of BG-like OSER. These observations confirm that BG-like structures appear wherever Langerin accumulates and confirm that membrane trafficking effectors dictate their physiology and, illustrate the importance of molecular interactions in the architecture of intracellular membranes.
The presentation of lipid antigens to T cells is mediated by the CD1 proteins. Purified functional CD1/lipid complexes are valuable tools to investigate such immune processes. Here, we describe how these complexes can be prepared in vitro, how they can be purified by chromatofocusing and how to control their antigen-loading status by isoelectric focusing.
The mechanisms permitting nonpolymorphic CD1 molecules to present lipid antigens that differ considerably in polar head and aliphatic tails remain elusive. It is also unclear why hydrophobic motifs in the aliphatic tails of some antigens, which presumably embed inside CD1 pockets, contribute to determinants for T-cell recognition. The 1.9-Å crystal structure of an active complex of CD1b and a mycobacterial diacylsulfoglycolipid presented here provides some clues. Upon antigen binding, endogenous spacers of CD1b, which consist of a mixture of diradylglycerols, moved considerably within the lipid-binding groove. Spacer displacement was accompanied by F pocket closure and an extensive rearrangement of residues exposed to T-cell receptors. Such structural reorganization resulted in reduction of the A pocket capacity and led to incomplete embedding of the methyl-ramified portion of the phthioceranoyl chain of the antigen, explaining why such hydrophobic motifs are critical for T-cell receptor recognition. Mutagenesis experiments supported the functional importance of the observed structural alterations for T-cell stimulation. Overall, our data delineate a complex molecular mechanism combining spacer repositioning and ligand-induced conformational changes that, together with pocket intricacy, endows CD1b with the required molecular plasticity to present a broad range of structurally diverse antigens.
CD1e is a member of the CD1 family that participates in lipid antigen presentation without interacting with the T-cell receptor. It binds lipids in lysosomes and facilitates processing of complex glycolipids, thus promoting editing of lipid antigens. We find that CD1e may positively or negatively affect lipid presentation by CD1b, CD1c, and CD1d. This effect is caused by the capacity of CD1e to facilitate rapid formation of CD1-lipid complexes, as shown for CD1d, and also to accelerate their turnover. Similar results were obtained with antigen-presenting cells from CD1e transgenic mice in which lipid complexes are assembled more efficiently and show faster turnover than in WT antigen-presenting cells. These effects maximize and temporally narrow CD1-restricted responses, as shown by reactivity to Sphingomonas paucimobilis-derived lipid antigens. CD1e is therefore an important modulator of both group 1 and group 2 CD1-restricted responses influencing the lipid antigen availability as well as the generation and persistence of CD1-lipid complexes.
CD1e is the only human CD1 protein existing in soluble form in the late endosomes of dendritic cells, where it facilitates the processing of glycolipid antigens that are ultimately recognized by CD1b-restricted T cells. The precise function of CD1e remains undefined, thus impeding efforts to predict the participation of this protein in the presentation of other antigens. To gain insight into its function, we determined the crystal structure of recombinant CD1e expressed in human cells at 2.90-Å resolution. The structure revealed a groove less intricate than in other CD1 proteins, with a significantly wider portal characterized by a 2 Å-larger spacing between the ?1 and ?2 helices. No electron density corresponding to endogenous ligands was detected within the groove, despite the presence of ligands unequivocally established by native mass spectrometry in recombinant CD1e. Our structural data indicate that the water-exposed CD1e groove could ensure the establishment of loose contacts with lipids. In agreement with this possibility, lipid association and dissociation processes were found to be considerably faster with CD1e than with CD1b. Moreover, CD1e was found to mediate in vitro the transfer of lipids to CD1b and the displacement of lipids from stable CD1b-antigen complexes. Altogether, these data support that CD1e could have evolved to mediate lipid-exchange/editing processes with CD1b and point to a pathway whereby the repertoire of lipid antigens presented by human dendritic cells might be expanded.
The plasma membrane proteins CD1a, CD1b and CD1c are expressed by human dendritic cells, the professional antigen-presenting cells of the immune system, and present lipid antigens to T lymphocytes. CD1e belongs to the same family of molecules, but accumulates as a membrane-associated form in the Golgi compartments of immature dendritic cells and as a soluble cleaved form in the lysosomes of mature dendritic cells. In lysosomes, the N-terminal propeptide of CD1e is also cleaved, but the functional consequences of this step are unknown. Here, we investigated how the pH changes encountered during transport to lysosomes affect the structure of CD1e and its ligand-binding properties. Circular dichroism studies demonstrated that the secondary and tertiary structures of recombinant CD1e were barely altered by pH changes. Nevertheless, at acidic pH, guanidium chloride-induced unfolding of CD1e molecules required lower concentrations of denaturing agent. The nonfunctional L194P allelic variant was found to be structurally less stable at acidic pH than the functional forms, providing an explanation for the lack of its detection in lysosomes. The number of water-exposed hydrophobic patches that bind 8-anilinonaphthalene-1-sulfonate was higher in acidic conditions, especially for the L194P variant. CD1e molecules interacted with lipid surfaces enriched in anionic lipids, such as bis(monoacylglycero)phosphate, a late endosomal/lysosomal lipid, especially at acidic pH, or when the propeptide was present. Altogether, these data indicate that, in the late endosomes/lysosomes of DCs, the acid pH promotes the binding of lipid antigens to CD1e through increased hydrophobic and ionic interactions.
The impact of MHC phenotype on the shaping of the peripheral naive T cell repertoire in humans remains unknown. To address this, we compared the frequency and antigenic avidity of naive T cells specific for immunodominant self-, viral, and tumor Ags presented by a human MHC class I allele (HLA-A*02, referred to as A2) in individuals expressing or not this allele. Naive T cell frequencies varied from one Ag specificity to another but were restrained for a given specificity. Although A2-restricted T cells showed similar repertoire features and antigenic avidities in A2+ and A2- donors, A2 expression had either a positive, neutral, or negative impact on the frequency of A2-restricted naive CD8 T cells, depending on their fine specificity. We also identified in all donors CD4 T cells specific for A2/peptide complexes, whose frequencies were not affected by MHC class I expression, but nevertheless correlated with those of their naive CD8 T cell counterparts. Therefore, both selection by self-MHC and inherent TCR reactivity regulate the frequency of human naive T cell precursors. Moreover this study also suggests that T cell repertoire shaping by a given self-MHC allele is dispensable for generation of immunodominant T cell responses restricted by this particular allele.
CD1e displays unique features in comparison with other CD1 proteins. CD1e accumulates in Golgi compartments of immature dendritic cells and is transported directly to lysosomes, where it is cleaved into a soluble form. In these latter compartments, CD1e participates in the processing of glycolipid antigens. In the present study, we show that the N-terminal end of the membrane-associated molecule begins at amino acid 20, whereas the soluble molecule consists of amino acids 32-333. Thus immature CD1e includes an N-terminal propeptide which is cleaved in acidic compartments and so is absent from its mature endosomal form. Mutagenesis experiments demonstrated that the propeptide controls the assembly of the CD1e alpha-chain with beta(2)-microglobulin, whereas propeptide-deleted CD1e molecules are immunologically active. Comparison of CD1e cDNAs from different mammalian species indicates that the CD1e propeptide is conserved during evolution, suggesting that it may also optimize the generation of CD1e molecules in other species.
The CD1e protein participates in the presentation of lipid antigens in dendritic cells. Its transmembrane precursor is transported to lysosomes where it is cleaved into an active soluble form. In the presence of bafilomycin, which inhibits vacuolar ATPase and consequently the acidification of endosomal compartments, CD1e associates with a 27 kD protein. In this work, we identified this molecular partner as LAPTM5. The latter protein and CD1e colocalize in trans-Golgi and late endosomal compartments. The quantity of LAPTM5/CD1e complexes increases when the cells are treated with bafilomycin, probably due to the protection of LAPTM5 from lysosomal proteases. Moreover, we could demonstrate that LAPTM5/CD1e association occurs under physiological conditions. Although LAPTM5 was previously shown to act as a platform recruiting ubiquitin ligases and facilitating the transport of receptors to lysosomes, we found no evidence that LATPM5 controls either CD1e ubiquitination or the generation of soluble lysosomal CD1e proteins. Notwithstanding these last observations, the interaction of LAPTM5 with CD1e and their colocalization in antigen processing compartments both suggest that LAPTM5 might influence the role of CD1e in the presentation of lipid antigens.
Lipids are important antigens that induce T cell-mediated specific immune responses. They are presented to T lymphocytes by a specific class of MHC-I like proteins, termed CD1. The majority of the described CD1-presented mycobacterial antigens are presented by the CD1b isoform. We previously demonstrated that the stimulation of CD1b-restricted T cells by the hexamannosylated phosphatidyl-myo-inositol (PIM(6)), a family of mycobacterial antigens, requires a prior partial digestion of the antigen oligomannoside moiety by ?-mannosidase and that CD1e is an accessory protein absolutely required for the generation of the lipid immunogenic form. Here, we show that CD1e behaves as a lipid transfer protein influencing lipid immunoediting and membrane transfer of PIM lipids. CD1e selectively assists the ?-mannosidase-dependent digestion of PIM(6) species according to their degree of acylation. Moreover, CD1e transfers only diacylated PIM from donor to acceptor liposomes and also from membranes to CD1b. This study provides new insight into the molecular mechanisms by which CD1e contributes to lipid immunoediting and CD1-restricted presentation to T cells.
A large body of knowledge relating to the constitution of Rab GTPase/Rab effector complexes and their impact on both membrane domain organization and overall membrane trafficking has been built up in recent years. However in the context of the live cell there are still many questions that remain to be answered, such as where and when these complexes assemble and where they perform their primary function(s). We describe here the dynamic processes that take place in the final steps of the Rab11A dependent recycling pathway, in the context of the membrane platform constituted by Myosin Vb, Rab11A, and Rab11-FIP2. We first confirm that a series of previously reported observations obtained during the study of a number of trafficking cargoes also apply to langerin. Langerin is a cargo molecule that traffics through Rab11A-positive membrane domains of the endosomal recycling pathway. In order to explore the relative dynamics of this set of partners, we make extensive use of a combinatory approach of Live-FRET, fast FRAP video, fast confocal and TIRF microscopy modalities. Our data show that the Myosin Vb/Rab11A/Rab11-FIP2 platform is spatially involved in the regulation of langerin trafficking at two distinct sites within live cells, first at the sorting site in the endosomal recycling compartment (ERC) where transport vesicles are formed, and subsequently, in a strict time-defined order, at the very late stage of docking/tethering and fusion of these langerin recycling vesicles to the plasma membrane.
The precise role of human epidermal Langerhans cells (LCs) in immune response is highly controversial. While studying the gene expression profile of these cells, we were intrigued to identify the HLA-DQB2 gene as potentially expressed in LCs. Despite a strong evolutionary conservation of their sequences, the concomitant expression of the poorly polymorphic HLA-DQA2/HLA-DQB2 genes, paralogous to the HLA-DQA1/HLA-DQB1 genes, has never been detected in any cell type. We confirmed by RT-PCR that the HLA-DQA2 and -DQB2 genes are both expressed in LCs, but not in monocyte-derived dendritic cells, or in blood CD1c(+) or plasmacytoid dendritic cells. The presence of the HLA-DQ?2 chain in LCs could be demonstrated by Western blotting, whereas immunofluorescence revealed its localization in early endosomes. As in the case of other HLA class II molecules, the HLA-DQ?2 and -DQ?2 chains formed heterodimers that had to associate with the invariant chain to reach endosomal compartments. HLA-DQ?2/?2 heterodimers were expressed at the cell surface, where they could mediate staphylococcal superantigen stimulation of T cells. Interestingly, HLA-DQ?2 and HLA-DQ?1 chains formed mixed heterodimers which efficiently left the endoplasmic reticulum. These observations strongly suggest that the poorly polymorphic HLA-DQA2 and -DQB2 genes should be considered to be of immunological importance. The HLA-DQ?2/?2 molecules could influence the complexity of the repertoire of Ags presented by LCs.
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