Immunological Functions of the Membrane Proximal Region of MHC Class II Molecules

Jonathan A HartonJim Drake


Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules present exogenously derived antigen peptides to CD4 T cells, driving activation of naïve T cells and supporting CD4-driven immune functions. However, MHC class II molecules are not inert protein pedestals that simply bind and present peptides. These molecules also serve as multi-functional signaling molecules delivering activation, differentiation, or death signals (or a combination of these) to B cells, macrophages, as well as MHC class II-expressing T cells and tumor cells. Although multiple proteins are known to associate with MHC class II, interaction with STING (stimulator of interferon genes) and CD79 is essential for signaling. In addition, alternative transmembrane domain pairing between class II α and β chains influences association with membrane lipid sub-domains, impacting both signaling and antigen presentation. In contrast to the membrane-distal region of the class II molecule responsible for peptide binding and T-cell receptor engagement, the membrane-proximal region (composed of the connecting peptide, transmembrane domain, and cytoplasmic tail) mediates these "non-traditional" class II functions. Here, we review the literature on the function of the membr...Continue Reading


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Cell Differentiation Process
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