Proteasomes degrade endogenous proteins. Two subunits, LMP-2 and LMP-7, are encoded in a region of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) that is critical for class I-restricted antigen presentation. Mice with a targeted deletion of the gene encoding LMP-7 have reduced levels of MHC class I cell-surface expression and present the endogenous antigen HY inefficiently; addition of peptides to splenocytes deficient in LMP-7 restores wild-type class I expression levels. This demonstrates the involvement of LMP-7 in the MHC class I presentation pathway and suggests that LMP-7 functions as an integral part of the peptide supply machinery.
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