Hapten Recognition by Cytotoxic T Cells
The observation by Shearer (1974) that cytotoxic lymphocytes could be generated against hapten-modified surfaces of syngeneic cells has served as the platform from which many recent studies on the specificity of recognition by effector T cells have been launched. Shearer’s observations have had a twofold impact: (1) they provided, for the first time, the possibility of raising cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) against a defined hapten; and (2) they revealed that lysis of haptenated cells was restricted by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), in that in murine systems, the effector and haptenated target cell had to share H-2K and/ or H-2D haplotypes for lysis to occur (Shearer, 1974; Forman et al., 1977a,b). This MHC restriction of hapten-specific T killer cells is widely regarded as analogous to similar restriction that exists for cytotoxic cells directed against viral antigens (Zinkernagel and Doherty, 1974), minor histocompatability antigens (Bevan, 1975), and H-Y antigens (Gordon et al., 1975).
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