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Cell. 1998 Jun 26;93(7):1135-45.

Developmental regulation of invariant chain proteolysis controls MHC class II trafficking in mouse dendritic cells.

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Department of Cell Biology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8002, USA.


Dendritic cells (DCs) developmentally regulate their capacity for antigen presentation by controlling the transport and surface expression of MHC class II molecules. These events reflect a developmental regulation of invariant (Ii) chain cleavage, most likely by the cysteine protease cathepsin S. In immature DCs, inefficient Ii chain cleavage due to low cathepsin S activity leads to the transport of class II-Ii chain complexes to lysosomes, while in mature DCs, elevated cathepsin S activity results in efficient delivery of class II alphabeta dimers to the plasma membrane. Cathepsin S is not controlled transcriptionally but by a novel mechanism involving alterations in the expression and localization of an endogenous cathepsin S inhibitor cystatin C. Thus, the ratio of cystatin C to cathepsin S in developing DCs helps to determine the fate of newly synthesized MHC class II molecules.

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