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Semin Immunol. 1999 Jun;11(3):171-81.

The composition and function of M cell apical membranes: implications for microbial pathogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School and GI Cell Biology Laboratory, Enders 1220, Children'sHospital, 300 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


M cells, an epithelial cell phenotype that occurs only over organized mucosal lymphoid follicles, deliver samples of foreign material by transepithelial transport from the lumen to organized lymphoid tissues within the mucosa of the small and large intestines. The apical membranes of M cells in the intestine are designed to facilitate adherence and uptake of antigens and microorganisms, a prerequisite for immunological sampling. The molecular features of M cell apical surfaces that promote adherence and transport are crucial for understanding the strategies that pathogens use to exploit this pathway.

Copyright 1999 Academic Press.

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