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Janeway CA Jr, Travers P, Walport M, et al. Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease. 5th edition. New York: Garland Science; 2001.

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Cover of Immunobiology

Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease. 5th edition.

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Figure 8.2. Immature dendritic cells take up antigen in the tissues.

Figure 8.2Immature dendritic cells take up antigen in the tissues

Immature dendritic cells in the tissues have a very dendritic morphology, with many long processes, as shown in the top panel, where the tissue is stained for MHC class II molecules in green and for a lysosomal protein in red. The cell bodies of these immature dendritic cells are difficult to distinguish in this figure, but what you can see is that the cell contains many endocytic vesicles that stain both for MHC class II molecules and for the lysosomal protein; when these two colors overlap they give rise to a yellow fluorescence. These immature cells are activated and leave the tissues to migrate through the lymphatics to secondary lymphoid tissues. During this migration their morphology changes, as shown in the middle panel. The dendritic cells also stop phagocytosing antigen, and in this panel you can start to see that the staining for lysosomal proteins in red is distinct from that for MHC class II molecules in green. Finally, in the lymph nodes (bottom panel), they become mature dendritic cells that express high levels of peptide:MHC complexes and co-stimulatory molecules and are very good at stimulating naive CD4 T cells. Here the cells do not phagocytose and again the red staining of lysosomal proteins is quite distinct from the green-stained MHC class II molecules displayed at high density on many dendritic processes. Photographs courtesy of I. Mellman, P. Pierre, and S. Turley, reprinted with permission from Nature 388:787-792, ©1997 Macmillan Magazines Limited.

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