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J Virol. 1998 Apr;72(4):2577-88.

Mtv-1 superantigen trafficks independently of major histocompatibility complex class II directly to the B-cell surface by the exocytic pathway.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Immunology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle 98195, USA.


Presentation of the Mtv-1 superantigen (vSag1) to specific Vbeta-bearing T cells requires association with major histocompatibility complex class II molecules. The intracellular route by which vSag1 trafficks to the cell surface and the site of vSag1-class II complex assembly in antigen-presenting B lymphocytes have not been determined. Here, we show that vSag1 trafficks independently of class II to the plasma membrane by the exocytic secretory pathway. At the surface of B cells, vSag1 associates primarily with mature peptide-bound class II alphabeta dimers, which are stable in sodium dodecyl sulfate. vSag1 is unstable on the cell surface in the absence of class II, and reagents that alter the surface expression of vSag1 and the conformation of class II molecules affect vSag1 stimulation of superantigen reactive T cells.

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