Binding of the T cell receptor by antigenMHC is necessary but insufficient for optimal activation

T cell activation requires interactions between multiple T cell surface structures and their respective ligands on antigen-presenting cells. Among these surface structures are the specifically rearranged het-erodimeric T cell receptor, Ti, and its associated invariant complex, CD3. Discovered in 1983, this complex is referred to as the T cell antigen receptor (TCR) and is comprised of eight protein chains. Under physiologic conditions the binding of antigen/MHC (major histocompatibility complex) to the TCR is necessary, but this interaction is insufficient to result in T cell proliferation. Instead, the induced coassociation of a number of accessory receptors, among them CD4 or CD8, and CD45 is required for immediate signaling events. Yet another set of sur face structures appears to enhance T cell adhesion to the antigen-presenting cell, to amplify TCR-stimu-lated signal transduction, and may ensure the ability of the T cell to respond flexibly to antigen presented by different types of antigen-presenting cells.

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