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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Oct 29, 1996; 93(22): 12445–12450.

Cell stress-regulated human major histocompatibility complex class I gene expressed in gastrointestinal epithelium.


Conventional major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I genes encode molecules that present intracellular peptide antigens to T cells. They are ubiquitously expressed and regulated by interferon gamma. Two highly divergent human MHC class I genes, MICA and MICB, are regulated by promoter heat shock elements similar to those of HSP70 genes. MICA encodes a cell surface glycoprotein, which is not associated with beta 2-microglobulin, is conformationally stable independent of conventional class I peptide ligands, and almost exclusively expressed in gastrointestinal epithelium. Thus, this MHC class I molecule may function as an indicator of cell stress and may be recognized by a subset of gut mucosal T cells in an unusual interaction.

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