Disruption of HLA class II antigen presentation in Burkitt lymphoma: implication of a 47,000 MW acid labile protein in CD4+ T-cell recognition.

PMID 24628049


While Burkitt lymphoma (BL) has a well-known defect in HLA class I-mediated antigen presentation, the exact role of BL-associated HLA class II in generating a poor CD4(+) T-cell response remains unresolved. Here, we found that BL cells are deficient in their ability to optimally stimulate CD4(+) T cells via the HLA class II pathway. This defect in CD4(+) T-cell recognition was not associated with low levels of co-stimulatory molecules on BL cells, as addition of external co-stimulation failed to elicit CD4(+) T-cell activation by BL. Further, the defect was not caused by faulty antigen/class II interaction, because antigenic peptides bound with measurable affinity to BL-associated class II molecules. Interestingly, functional class II-peptide complexes were formed at acidic pH 5·5, which restored immune recognition. Acidic buffer (pH 5·5) eluate from BL cells contained molecules that impaired class II-mediated antigen presentation and CD4(+) T-cell recognition. Biochemical analysis showed that these molecules were greater than 30,000 molecular weight in size, and proteinaceous in nature. In addition, BL was found to have decreased expression of a 47,000 molecular weight enolase-like molecule that enhances class II-mediated antigen presentation in B cells, macrophages and dendritic cells, but not in BL cells. These findings demonstrate that BL likely has multiple defects in HLA class II-mediated antigen presentation and immune recognition, which may be exploited for future immunotherapies.