Engagement of B cell receptor regulates the invariant chain-dependent MHC class II presentation pathway

J Immunol. 1999 Mar 1;162(5):2495-502.


The intracellular sites in which Ags delivered by the B cell receptor (BCR) are degraded and loaded onto class II molecules remain poorly defined. To address this issue, we generated wild-type and invariant chain (Ii)-deficient H-2k mice bearing BCR specific for hen egg lysozyme. Our results show that, 1) unlike Ags taken up from the fluid phase, Ii is required for presentation of hen egg lysozyme internalized through the BCR in a manner independent of the peptide analyzed; 2) BCR ligation induces intracellular accumulation of MHC class II molecules only in Ii-positive B cells; and 3) these class II molecules reach intracellular compartments where BCR targets exogenous Ag. No differences in expression of adhesion and costimulatory molecules or in the presentation of soluble peptides were detectable between Ii-positive and -negative B cells. Therefore, the BCR delivers its ligand to compartments containing MHC class II-Ii complexes and bypasses the Ii-independent presentation pathway. The linked roles of Ag internalization and B cell activation of the BCR leads to potent Ii-dependent presentation in splenic B cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation*
  • Antigens, Differentiation, B-Lymphocyte / physiology*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / physiology*


  • Antigens, Differentiation, B-Lymphocyte
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell
  • invariant chain