Cluster of Differentiation 74 (CD74), also known as HLA class II histocompatibility antigen gamma chain, is a type II transmembrane protein that plays a critical role in MHC class II antigen processing by stabilizing peptide-free class II alpha/beta heterodimers in a complex soon after their synthesis (1). It then directs the transport of this complex from the endoplasmic reticulum to compartments where class II peptide loading occurs (1). CD74 serves as a cell surface receptor ligand for the macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) cytokine, which binds to the extracellular domain of CD74 (1, 2). Thus, CD74 is required for MIF-induced activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1/2 MAP kinase cascade, cell proliferation, and PGE2 production (2). CD74 is also expressed on antigen presenting cells such as B cells (3).
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