The HLA-A2-positive human mutant cell line T2 is not lysed by influenza virus-specific HLA-A2-restricted cytotoxic lymphocytes after virus infection. However, lysis does occur when cells are incubated with the antigenic influenza matrix protein-derived peptide M57-68. To examine the nature of this defect, T2 cells were transfected with two different plasmids. One plasmid encoded the peptide M57-68, and the other encoded the same peptide preceded by an endoplasmic reticulum translocation signal sequence. Mutant T2 cells expressing the M57-68 peptide without the signal sequence were not susceptible to lysis by M57-68-specific HLA-A2-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocytes, whereas T2 cells expressing the M57-68 peptide plus signal sequence were lysed effectively. Lysis of parental T1 cells with either plasmid was equally effective. These results suggest that the T2 mutant cells are defective in the transport of antigenic peptides from the cytosol into the secretory pathway.

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