Options for TCR Interactions: TCR Agonists, Antagonists and Partial Agonists

  • Stephen C. Jameson
  • Kristin A. Hogquist


Over the last 25 years or so, immunologists have exerted considerable effort toward determining how antigens are perceived by T cells, resulting in a huge body of knowledge about this event. Pioneering work defined the requirement for MHC and subsequently showed that “antigen” was presented to T cells as a peptide complexed to a suitable MHC molecule (reviewed in ref. 1). As the rest of the chapters in this book vividly portray, we have come a long way with this type of analysis, such that we now know much about how peptides interact with the MHC, have clues to which residues in the TCR engage which regions of the MHC + peptide, and have detailed molecular structures for several MHC/peptide complexes, with a complete structure for the TCR tantalizingly near. On the other side of the membrane, much is now known about the signaling events following TCR engagement (reviewed in ref. 2). Although most of these studies involve stimulation of transformed T cells by anti-TCR antibodies, similar results are being found using antigen activated T cell clones. Until recently, these results have lead to a pleasingly simple model—the TCR needs only to find its ligand and it will engage, undergo cross-linking on the T cell surface, and then induce a “standard” cascade of activation events. However, as with most biological models, there were unexpected layers of complexity to be discovered.


Partial Agonist Experimental Allergic Encephalomyelitis Full Agonist Altered Peptide Ligand Signaling Machinery 
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© R.G. Landes Company 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen C. Jameson
  • Kristin A. Hogquist

There are no affiliations available

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