Properties of glycolipid-enriched membrane rafts in antigen presentation.


Presentation of antigen to T cells represents one of the central events in the engagement of the immune system toward the defense of the host against pathogens. Accordingly, understanding the mechanisms by which antigen presentation occurs is critical toward our understanding the properties of host defense against foreign antigen, as well as insight into other features of the immune system, such as autoimmune disease. The entire antigen-presentation event is complex, and many features of it remain poorly understood. However, recent studies have provided evidence showing that glycolipid-enriched membrane rafts are important for efficient antigen presentation; the studies suggest that one such function of rafts is trafficking of antigen-MHC II complexes to the presentation site on the surface of the antigen-presenting cell. Here, we present a critical discussion of rafts and their proposed functions in antigen presentation. Emerging topics of rafts and antigen presentation that warrant further investigation are also highlighted.

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