Research CommentariesImmunology

Proteases, Processing, and Thymic Selection

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Science  17 Apr 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5362, pp. 394-395
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5362.394

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The immune system "presents" peptides to other immune cells by displaying them on the surface of cells bound to a molecule called MHC class II. The process of making these peptides and putting them in this visible cellular spot requires the action of a class of protein-degrading enzymes called cathepsins. Cresswell discusses a report in this issue ( Nakagawa et al .), which shows that different cathepsins perform this duty in different tissues of the immune system and explains why this might be the case.