The Rise and Fall of the Antigen Bridge

  • N. A. Mitchison


The antigen bridge as a mechanism of interaction between T and B cells has had a good run. An early example may be found in Mitchison, Rajewsky and Taylor (1970) and an up-to-date one in Eichmann (1981). The essential feature remains the same throughout, that a molecule of antigen joins the T cell receptor one side to the B cell receptor on the other. What is added in the more recent versions is an I-A/E molecule and a receptor for it, which have to be added in order to conform with the rules of dual recognition by T cells. The purpose of this paper is to discuss an alternative model of the interaction, which omits this bridge. At the end of the day one may feel that the difference is more apparent than real, but an important point of principle is involved. The theme which is developed here has already been described in outline in a workshop summary (Pernis and Mitchison, 1980). Its discussion in that workshop reflected principally the ideas of H.M. Grey, K. Hannestad, and W.E. Paul, and it is referred to in the published summary as a revolution in under standing of the function of regulatory T cells.


Major Histocompatibility Complex Cell Receptor Helper Cell Lymphocyte Clone Helper Factor 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. A. Mitchison
    • 1
  1. 1.Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Tumour Immunol. Unit Department of ZoologyUniversity CollegeLondonUK

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