Antigen Presentation Via Mhc Class I Molecules

Emil R Unanue, Department of Pathology and Center for Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri, USA

As described in Antigen Presentation via MHC Class II molecules, the T cell receptor for antigen, either of the CD4 or CD8 subset, must interact with peptides bound to the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. Both the class I and II MHC molecules inform the T lymphocytes of the intracellular content of peptides. CD8 T cells interact primarily with peptides bound to class I MHC molecules. As was initially shown, CD8 T cells directed to viruses can be triggered by viral peptides. Two major differences between presentation by the class I and the class II MHC molecules are, first, that the class I molecules serve to select primarily, but not exclusively, peptides derived from cytoplasmic proteins - the class II molecules select peptides from proteins found in the vesicular system; and, second, that the primary site of coupling of class I molecules with peptides is the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) - the major site of peptide coupling by class II molecules is in vesicles. In this form, the lymphocyte recognizes products from viruses and some bacteria by way of the MHC class I system, and products of intracellular bacteria or parasites (and of endocytosed/phagocytosed antigens) by the class II MHC system. Details on the biology of antigen-presenting cell (APQ-CD8 T cell interaction have been given under Antigen-Presenting Cells.

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