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Biological Chemistry

Editor-in-Chief: Brüne, Bernhard

Editorial Board Member: Buchner, Johannes / Ludwig, Stephan / Sies, Helmut / Turk, Boris / Wittinghofer, Alfred

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The Role of Heat Shock Proteins and Their Receptors in the Activation of the Immune System

Harpreet Singh-Jasuja / Norbert Hilf / Danièle Arnold-Schild / Hansjörg Schild

Citation Information: Biological Chemistry. Volume 382, Issue 4, Pages 629–636, ISSN (Print) 1431-6730, DOI: 10.1515/BC.2001.074, June 2005

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Heat shock proteins (HSPs) have been described as potent tumor vaccines in animal models and are currently studied in clinical trials. The underlying immune response relies on immunogenic peptides that the HSPs have acquired intracellularly by interfering with the classical antigen processing pathways. There have been numerous reports shedding light on how HSPs are able to gain this function and a number of important requirements for HSPmediated specific immunity have been described: first, the ability of HSPs to bind immunogenic peptides. Second, the acquisition of HSPs by specialized antigen presenting cells with efficient antigen processing pathways capable of inducing cellular immune responses. Third, the existence of specific receptors on the surfaces of antigen presenting cells, allowing efficient and rapid uptake of HSPpeptide complexes from the extracellular fluid. And fourth, the ability of heat shock proteins to activate antigen presenting cells, enabling the latter to prime cytotoxic T cell responses against the peptides associated to HSPs.

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