Processing of proteins for major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-restricted presentation to CD4-positive T lymphocytes occurs after they are internalized by antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Antigenic proteins frequently contain disulfide bonds, and their reduction in the endocytic pathway facilitates processing. In humans, a gamma interferon-inducible lysosomal thiol reductase (GILT) is constitutively present in late endocytic compartments of APCs. Here, we identified the mouse homolog of GILT and generated a GILT knockout mouse. GILT facilitated the processing and presentation to antigen-specific T cells of protein antigens containing disulfide bonds. The response to hen egg lysozyme, a model antigen with a compact structure containing four disulfide bonds, was examined in detail.
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