The surprisingly efficient uptake of peptide-loaded heat shock proteins (Hsps) by antigen-presenting cells (APCs) has been recently associated with a specific receptor-ligand–based mechanism, and the identity of at least 1 receptor has been determined. In this study, we tested how the domain composition of the stress protein affected its surface association and internalization by APCs, and this was facilitated by the availability of the 70-kDa human heat shock protein (Hsp70) and its various deletion mutants. We show that both these processes strictly depend on the presence of all 3 domains of Hsp70. We propose that the previously described interdomain interactions as a determinant of a favorable conformational status might also govern a sterical adaptation of Hsps to components of the internalization machinery.
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