RMA/S is a mutant cell line with decreased cell surface expression of major histocompatibility complex class I molecules that has been reported to be deficient in presenting endogenously synthesized influenza virus nucleoprotein (NP) to cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). In the present study we show that RMA/S cells can present vesicular stomatitis virus nucleocapsid protein, and, under some conditions, NP, to Kb-and Db-restricted CTL, respectively. Antigen presentation results from processing of cytosolic pools of endogenously synthesized proteins, and not the binding to cell surface class I molecules of antigenic peptides present in the virus inoculum or released from infected cells. Antigen processing of RMA/S differs, however, from processing by wild-type cells in requiring greater amounts of antigen, longer times to assemble or transport class I-peptide complexes, and in being more sensitive to blocking by anti-CD8 antibody. Thus, the antigen processing deficit in RMA/S cells is of a partial rather than absolute nature.

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