Biomembranes pp 223-245 | Cite as

Chemistry of Specific Antigenic Sites on Cell Surfaces

  • Raymond A. Popp


The interaction of a cell with its extracellular environment occurs at the surface of its plasma membrane. The specialized functions of differentiated cells must, in some way, be correlated with the quality, quantity, and organization of the carbohydrate, lipid, and protein components of their membranes. The highly specialized immunological functions of mammalian cells are determined by specific chemical structures, cell surface antigens, and antigen receptor sites, which are responsible for the initiation of the immune response. The chemistry of several erythrocyte antigens has been elucidated in the last decade, but little or nothing is known about the chemistry of the majority of the antigenic sites on cell surfaces. Brief consideration is given here to the already classic studies on the dominant role of carbohydrates as the specific antigenic determinants of human blood groups and to the role of lipids as stabilizers for the antigenic determinants of membrane proteins. Prime consideration is given to studies on membrane proteins, which constitute an important class of antigenic determinants on cell surfaces.


Blood Group Maleic Anhydride Cell Surface Antigen Antigenic Site Butanol Extraction 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raymond A. Popp
    • 1
  1. 1.Biology DivisionOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA

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