Surface-expressed invariant chain (CD74) is required for internalization of human leucocyte antigen-DR molecules to early endosomal compartments.
Transport of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules to the endocytic route is directed by the associated invariant chain (Ii). In the endocytic pathway, Ii is proteolytically cleaved and, upon removal of residual Ii fragments, class II alpha beta dimers are charged with antigenic peptide and recognized by CD4+ T cells. Although distinct peptide-loading compartments such as MIIC (MHC class II loading compartment) and CIIV (MHC class II vesicles) have been characterized in different cells, there is growing evidence of a multitude of subcellular compartments in which antigenic peptide loading takes place. We employed a physiological cellular system in which surface Ii (CD74) and surface human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-DR were induced either alone or in combination. This was achieved by transient exposure of HT-29 cells to recombinant interferon-gamma (rIFN-gamma). Using distinct cellular variants, we showed that: (i) the majority of Ii molecules physically associate on the cell membrane with class II dimers to form DR alpha beta:Ii complexes; (ii) the presence of surface Ii is a prerequisite for the rapid uptake of HLA-DR-specific monoclonal antibodies into early endosomes because only the surface DR+/Ii+ phenotype, and not the DR+/Ii- variant, efficiently internalizes; and (iii) the HLA-DR:Ii complexes are targeted to early endosomes, as indicated by co-localization with the GTPase, Rab5, and endocytosed bovine serum albumin. Internalization of HLA-DR:Ii complexes, accommodation of peptides by DR alphabeta heterodimers in early endosomes and recycling to the cell surface may be a mechanism used to increase the peptide repertoire that antigen-presenting cells display to MHC class II-restricted T cells.
Moldenhauer, G; Henne, C; Karhausen, J; Möller, P
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