Mhc restriction

Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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Zinc nail R.M et al. (1974)

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Term used in immunology to describe the crucial role of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) in antigen presentation and recognition.

General information
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In peripheral tolerance, which affects the differentiated T-lymphocytes, cytotoxic T-cells are generated from naive CD8+ cytotoxic T-cells, activated and thus fully functional cytotoxic T-cells. This requires an antigen-specific interaction of the naïve cytotoxic T cells with professional antigen-presenting cells (mostly mature dendritic cells). Prior to this, the antigens must be prepared and presented on the cell surface on specific endogenous receptors, the class I and class II protein complexes encoded by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Prepared in this way, free antigens from antigen presenting cells (APC) can be actively presented and recognized by cytotoxic T lymphocytes .

The recognition of infected or malignant cells by means of the highly specific T-cell receptor also takes place via the binding sites of the MHC-I binding complex. After their immunological imprint, cytotoxic T cells circulate through blood, lymph nodes, skin and other organs. Healthy, non-infected (non-antigenically active) body cells present a variable mixture of different, cell-specific epitopes (self-peptides). Through this "epitope pattern" they identify themselves as "healthy" in front of the cells of the immune system.

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  1. Zinc nail R.M et al (1974) Restriction of in vitro T cell-mediated cytotoxicity in lymphocytic choriomeningitis within a syngenic and semiallogeneic system. Nature 248: 701-702.

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Cytotoxic t-lymphocyte; MHC;


Last updated on: 29.10.2020