Abundant empty class II MHC molecules on the surface of immature dendritic cells

Laura Santambrogio, Aaron K. Sato, Falko R. Fischer, Martin E. Dorf, Lawrence J. Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


A monoclonal antibody specific for the empty conformation of class II MHC molecules revealed the presence of abundant empty molecules on the surface of spleen- and bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (DC) among various types of antigen-presenting cells. The empty class II MHC molecules are developmentally regulated and expressed predominantly on immature DC. They can capture peptide antigens directly from the extracellular medium and present bound peptides to antigen-specific T lymphocytes. The ability of the empty cell-surface class II MHC proteins to bind peptides and present them to T cells without intracellular processing can serve to extend the spectrum of antigens able to be presented by DC, consistent with their role as sentinels in the immune system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15050-15055
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
StatePublished - Dec 21 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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