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Curr Opin Immunol. 2006 Feb;18(1):64-9. Epub 2005 Dec 6.

MHC class II compartment subtypes: structure and function.

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  • 1Department of Pathology University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester, MA 01655, USA.


Reports from the past couple of years point to an emerging association of the biogenesis, composition and ultrastructural morphology of MHC class II compartments (MIICs) with their functions in antigen processing and loading. Growth factors and cytokines involved in dendritic cell maturation have been shown to regulate MIIC biogenesis, and the MHC-class-II-associated invariant chain chaperone has been reported to regulate endosomal morphology and vacuolation. Differences among ultrastructurally distinct MIICs have begun to be appreciated with regard to variation in antigen loading capacity and to polarization of MHC class II conformational variants among different compartments. Finally, the MIIC ultrastructure organizes the mechanism of MHC class II surface trafficking. Together, these findings begin to shed light on the connection between MIIC protein content, MIIC morphology and MHC class II-related antigen processing.

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