CD8+ T cells play a protective role in immunity to cutaneous leishmaniasis. However, it has been unclear how these cells execute this function, since results from several investigations attempting to demonstrate recognition of Leishmania-infected macrophages by CD8+ T cells have been contradictory. In this study, we report the generation of CD8+ T cell lines specific for GP46/M-2, a leishmanial Ag, previously shown to protectively immunize mice against a Leishmania amazonensis challenge. Using T cell cytolysis and IFN-gamma production to assess CD8+ T cell activation, we show that in addition to recognizing mammalian cells transfected with GP46/M-2, these CD8+ T cell lines also recognize macrophages infected with Leishmania amazonensis. MHC class I presentation of GP46/M-2 by infected macrophages can be blocked by treatment with brefeldin A and also by inhibitors of the cytosolic multicatalytic proteasome, N-acetyl-L-leucinyl-L-leucinal-L-norleucinal and N-acetyl-L-leucinyl-L-leucinylmethional. These results suggest that this leishmanial Ag is processed in the macrophage cytoplasm and is presented to CD8+ T cells via the classical pathway of MHC class I presentation. The relevance of these findings as they impact on our understanding of the biology of the parasite within the macrophage is discussed.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.