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Immunological Properties of Heat Shock Proteins are Phylogenetically Conserved

  • Jacques Robert
  • Antoine Ménoret
  • Pramod K. Srivastava
  • Nicholas Cohen
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 484)

Abstract

Heat shock proteins (HSPs) serve as molecular chaperones of polypeptides transported between cell organelles, and contribute to the folding of nascent and altered proteins. A rapidly growing body of data suggests that at least in mammals, the HSPs 70 and gp96, are involved in immunity (review in Srivastava et al., 1998). Considering some analogy between MHC molecules and HSPs, it has been hypothesized that HSPs may have been forerunner presenting molecules, and that this primitive antigen presenting mechanism was integrated in the newly evolved MHC system (Srivastava and Heike, 1991). Structural similarities between hsp70 and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I peptide binding sites led Flajnik (1991) to a partially similar suggestion. Three characteristics of HSPs are reminiscent of MHC molecules (Table 1). First, these HSPs can physiologically associate with a large variety of antigenic peptides derived from cellular proteins. Second, after immunization with HSP-peptide complexes, T-cell immune responses are elicited against the chaperoned peptide. Finally, under certain circumstances (cell surface expression, cell death), these intracellular proteins end up in the extracellular compartment. Given the high degree of structural conservation of HSPs during evolution, their possible involvement in immune function, in general, and tumor immunity in particular, may be reflective of an ancient origin of HSPs that was contemporary with, or even antecedent to, the emergence of the vertebrate adaptive immune system that uses MHC presentation and restriction. In this review, we will examine the extent to which those immunological properties of HSPs found in mammals (peptide binding and chaperoning, adjuvanticity, immunogenicity) are phylogenetically conserved, and by extension, whether HSPs may be an evolutionary bridge between innate and adaptive immunity.

Table 1

HSP and MHC molecules have multiple features in common

HSP (gp96)

MHC

Very ancient (present in prokaryotes & eukaryotes)

Evolutionarily recent (arose in gnathostomes)

No polymorphism

Allelic polymorphism

Induced by IFN-γ, heat shock, glucose deprivation, viral infection

Expression is induced by IFN-γ

Binds peptides and unfolded proteins

Binds peptides

Mainly intracellular (cytosol or ER) but also at the surface of some cells

Expressed at the cell surface (most cells for class I, professional antigen-presenting cells for class II)

HSP-peptide complex can prime T-cells in solution (possibly also when expressed at the surface of some cells)

MHC-peptide complex can prime T-cell only when expressed at the surface of antigen-presenting cells

Keywords

Major Histocompatibility Complex Heat Shock Protein Major Histocompatibility Complex Class Major Histocompatibility Complex Molecule Tumor Rejection Antigen 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacques Robert
    • 1
  • Antoine Ménoret
    • 2
  • Pramod K. Srivastava
    • 2
  • Nicholas Cohen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyUniversity of Rochester School of Medicine and DentistryRochester
  2. 2.Center for Immunotherapy of Cancer and Infectious DiseasesUniversity of Connecticut School of MedicineFarmington

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