The receptor DEC-205 expressed by dendritic cells and thymic epithelial cells is involved in antigen processing

Nature. 1995 May 11;375(6527):151-5. doi: 10.1038/375151a0.


Dendritic cells and thymic epithelial cells perform important immunoregulatory functions by presenting antigens in the form of peptides bound to cell-surface major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules to T cells. Whereas B cells are known to present specific antigens efficiently through their surface immunoglobins, a comparable mechanism for the capture and efficient presentation of diverse antigens by dendritic cells and thymic epithelial cells has not previously been described. We show here that their antigen-presentation function is associated with the high-level expression of DEC-205, an integral membrane protein homologous to the macrophage mannose receptor and related receptors which are able to bind carbohydrates and mediate endocytosis. DEC-205 is rapidly taken up by means of coated pits and vesicles, and is delivered to a multivesicular endosomal compartment that resembles the MHC class II-containing vesicles implicated in antigen presentation. Rabbit antibodies that bind DEC-205 are presented to reactive T-cell hybridomas 100-fold more efficiently than rabbit antibodies that do not bind DEC-205. Thus DEC-205 is a novel endocytic receptor that can be used by dendritic cells and thymic epithelial cells to direct captured antigens from the extracellular space to a specialized antigen-processing compartment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antibodies
  • Antigen Presentation / physiology*
  • Antigens, CD*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dendritic Cells / physiology*
  • Endocytosis
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Epithelium / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lectins, C-Type*
  • Mannose Receptor
  • Mannose-Binding Lectins*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Minor Histocompatibility Antigens
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / chemistry
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Thymus Gland / cytology*


  • Antibodies
  • Antigens, CD
  • DEC-205 receptor
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Mannose Receptor
  • Mannose-Binding Lectins
  • Minor Histocompatibility Antigens
  • Receptors, Cell Surface

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U19271