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J Histochem Cytochem. 2005 Dec;53(12):1481-9. Epub 2005 May 27.

Polarized expression of CD74 by gastric epithelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, USA.


CD74 is known as the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-associated invariant chain (Ii) that regulates the cell biology and functions of MHC class II molecules. Class II MHC and Ii expression was believed to be restricted to classical antigen-presenting cells (APC); however, during inflammation, other cell types, including mucosal epithelial cells, have also been reported to express class II MHC molecules. Given the importance of Ii in the biology of class II MHC, we sought to examine the expression of Ii by gastric epithelial cells (GEC) to determine whether class II MHC molecules in these nonconventional APC cells were under the control of Ii and to further support the role that these cells may play in local immune and inflammatory responses during Helicobacter pylori infection. Thus we examined the expression of Ii on GEC from human biopsy samples and then confirmed this observation using independent methods on several GEC lines. The mRNA for Ii was detected by RT-PCR, and the various protein isoforms were also detected. Interestingly, these cells have a high level expression of surface Ii, which is polarized to the apical surface. These studies are the first to demonstrate the constitutive expression of Ii by human GEC.

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