The interrelationships between the macrophage and macrophage-related cells (e.g., the skin Langerhans cells, the veiled cells, the lymphoid dendritic cell, etc.) and the lymphocyte has long been a focus of attention for cellular immunologists. Of the many aspects of this interaction, one which has been studied most intensively over the past ten years is the role of the macrophage in T-lymphocyte activation. This interaction is itself made up of a multitude of molecular components, collectively known as antigen presentation. However, one of the most fundamental advances in our understanding of antigen presentation came with the realization that most antigens to which the immune system is exposed, be they bacteria, viruses, or simply purified proteins, must undergo changes, often radical ones, at a molecular level before they are recognized and hence signal a response to the T-lymphocyte compartment of the immune system. These changes, which occur predominantly within antigen-presenting cells, constitute antigen processing.
KeywordsDendritic Cell Major Histocompatibility Complex Major Histocompatibility Complex Class Antigen Processing Early Endosome
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