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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2008 Aug;20(4):437-44. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2008 Jul 5.

Endosomal sorting of MHC class II determines antigen presentation by dendritic cells.

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  • 1Institut Curie, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique-Unité Mixte de Recherche 144, Paris 75248, France.


Dendritic cells (DCs) initiate primary immune responses by presenting pathogen-derived antigens in association with major histocompatibility Class II molecules (MHC II) to T cells. In DCs, MHC II is constitutively synthesized and loaded at endosomes with peptides from hydrolyzed endogenous proteins or exogenously acquired antigens. Whether peptide loaded MHC II (MHC II-p) is subsequently recruited to and stably expressed at the plasma membrane or degraded in lysosomes is determined by the status of the DC. In immature DCs, MHC II-p is ubiquitinated after peptide loading, driving its sorting to the luminal vesicles of multivesicular bodies. These luminal vesicles, and the MHC II-p they carry, are delivered to lysosomes for degradation. MHC II-p is inefficiently ubiquitinated in DCs that are activated by pathogens or inflammatory stimuli, thus allowing its transfer to and stable expression at the plasma membrane.

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