Class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) alpha chain immunoglobulin domain; member of the C1-set of Ig superfamily (IgSF) domains
The members here are composed of the immunoglobulin (Ig) domain of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II alpha chain. MHC class II molecules play a key role in the initiation of the antigen-specific immune reponse. These molecules have been shown to be expressed constitutively on the cell surface of professional antigen-presenting cells (APCs), including B-lymphocytes, monocytes, and macrophages in both humans and mice. The expression of these molecules has been shown to be induced in nonprofessional APCs such as keratinocyctes, and they are also expressed on the surface of activated human T cells and on T cells from other species. The MHC II molecules present antigenic peptides to CD4(+) T-lymphocytes. These peptides derive mostly from proteolytic processing via the endocytic pathway, of antigens internalized by the APC. These peptides bind to the MHC class II molecules in the endosome before they are transported to the cell surface. MHC class II molecules are heterodimers, comprised of two similarly-sized membrane-spanning chains, alpha and beta. Each chain had two globular domains (N- and C-terminal), and a membrane-anchoring transmembrane segment. The two chains form a compact four-domain structure. The peptide-binding site is a cleft in the structure.