Transport of Peptide-MHC Class II Complexes in Developing Dendritic Cells

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Science  21 Apr 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5465, pp. 522-527
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5465.522

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Major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II) molecules capture peptides within the endocytic pathway to generate T cell receptor (TCR) ligands. Immature dendritic cells (DCs) sequester intact antigens in lysosomes, processing and converting antigens into peptide–MHC II complexes upon induction of DC maturation. The complexes then accumulate in distinctive, nonlysosomal MHC II+ vesicles that appear to migrate to the cell surface. Although the vesicles exclude soluble lysosomal contents and antigen-processing machinery, many contain MHC I and B7 costimulatory molecules. After arrival at the cell surface, the MHC and costimulatory molecules remain clustered. Thus, transport of peptide–MHC II complexes by DCs not only accomplishes transfer from late endocytic compartments to the plasma membrane, but does so in a manner that selectively concentrates TCR ligands and costimulatory molecules for T cell contact.

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