How Strict Is the MHC Restriction of T Cells?

  • Rolf M. Zinkernagel


Thymus-derived lymphocytes (T cells) are generally specific for a self determinant (self-H) expressed on the target-cell surface and coded by the major histocompatibility gene complex (MHC) (reviewed in Paul and Benacerraf, 1977; Katz, 1977; Zinkernagel and Doherty, 1979). T cells that mediate nonlytic functions, such as T helper cells, proliferating T cells, and T cells involved in delayed-type hypersensitivity against contact allergens or intracellular bacteria, are specific for H-2I determinants, whereas lytic T cells are specific for H-2K or D structures. Specificities both for self-H and for any foreign antigen (X) are clonally expressed and highly specific. It is still unclear whether this dual specificity reflects T-cell expression of a single receptor for a neoantigenic determinant combining self-H complexed with X or T-cell expression of two independent receptor sites for self-H and for X.


Restriction Specificity Major Histocompatibility Gene Complex Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus Scripps Clinic Immune Spleen Cell 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rolf M. Zinkernagel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ImmunopathologyScripps Clinic and Research FoundationLa JollaUSA

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