TRIM21 and the Function of Antibodies inside Cells
Therapeutic antibodies targeting disease-associated antigens are key tools in the treatment of cancer and autoimmunity. So far, therapeutic antibodies have targeted antigens that are, or are presumed to be, extracellular. A largely overlooked property of antibodies is their functional activity inside cells. The diverse literature dealing with intracellular antibodies emerged historically from studies of the properties of some autoantibodies. The identification of tripartite motif (TRIM) 21 as an intracellular Fc receptor linking cytosolic antibody recognition to the ubiquitin proteasome system brings this research into sharper focus. We review critically the research related to intracellular antibodies, link this to the TRIM21 effector mechanism, and highlight how this work is exposing the previously restricted intracellular space to the potential of therapeutic antibodies.
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