Targeting Endolysosomal Pathways for Enhanced Immune Response Against Emerging Pathogens

Jeya Chelliah B.Vsc Ph.D.

The human immune system, a complex and dynamic defense mechanism, harbors a lesser-known yet pivotal component: the endolysosomal trafficking system. This system is instrumental in enhancing immune responses against a myriad of pathogens. Recent studies have shed light on the critical role of endolysosomal trafficking in immune cells, particularly in antigen processing and presentation, a process not extensively explored for therapeutic exploitation in infectious diseases.

Endolysosomal trafficking refers to the cellular process of internalizing substances and shuttling them within endosomes and lysosomes. These organelles are key in breaking down and recycling cellular waste and foreign substances, including pathogens. The endolysosomal pathway is crucial in the immune system, especially in the context of Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) presentation. This pathway is integral to how our body’s cells present antigens to the immune system, a vital process for immune surveillance and response.

A notable aspect of this pathway is the role of the chaperone CD74 in the cross-presentation of exogenous antigen by dendritic cells. This process is crucial for initiating and priming immune responses. Post internalization, antigens are degraded by lysosomal proteases, and antigen-derived peptides are loaded onto MHC class I molecules within the endolysosomal compartments. This highlights the pathway’s significant role in antigen processing .

The endolysosomal pathway is a key player in MHC presentation, influencing both innate and adaptive immunity. Understanding this pathway offers insights into developing more effective vaccines and therapies for various diseases, providing a novel angle in infectious disease treatment by targeting a previously underexplored immune mechanism.

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