Antigen Presentation Via Mhc Class Ii Molecules

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

During antigen presentation a protein is taken up and processed by antigen presenting cells (APCs), and is then recognized by T lymphocytes. The basic patterns of protein recognition apply to both CD4 and CD8 T lymphocytes. Both cells do not recognize protein antigens in their native state but only after the antigens are taken up by an APC. The role of the APC is to process the protein into denatured fragments or peptides that complex with their class I or II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. The peptide-MHC bimolecular complex represents the antigenic determinant recognized by the a(3 T cell receptor of CD4 or CD8 T cells. However, there are notable differences between recognition by CD4 or CD8 T cells in that CD4 T cells recognize the peptides associated with class II MHC molecules, while CD 8 T lymphocytes recognize the peptides associated with class I molecules. The CD4 or CD8 molecules interact with either the class II or class I molecule, respectively, favoring the interaction of the T cell receptor with the MHC-peptide complex.

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