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Nature. 1995 Jun 15;375(6532):603-6.

Antigen presentation mediated by recycling of surface HLA-DR molecules.

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Laboratory of Immunogenetics, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, Maryland 20852, USA.


Class II histocompatibility molecules associate with peptides derived from antigens that are processed in endocytic compartments. Antigen presentation to class II-restricted T cells generally requires newly synthesized class II molecules, associated invariant chain, and HLA-DM. Exceptions to these rules have been reported, but without description of an underlying mechanism. Here we show that presentation of immunodominant epitopes in the haemagglutinin protein of influenza virus and in myelin basic protein correlates with recycling of surface HLA-DR molecules. Truncation of either one of the alpha or beta cytoplasmic tails virtually eliminated internalization of HLA-DR molecules and presentation of haemagglutinin from inactive virus particles. In contrast, the invariant chain-dependent presentation of matrix antigen from the same virus particles was unaffected by these truncations. Thus HLA-DR cytoplasmic tails are not required for the conventional presentation pathway, but jointly contribute a signal for an alternative pathway involving internalization of HLA-DR molecules.

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