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T cell-mediated immune responses

The primary cells that control the adaptive immune response are the lymphocytes, the T and B cells. T cells are particularly important, as they not only control a multitude of immune responses directly, but also control B cell immune responses in many cases as well. Thus, many of the decisions about how to attack a pathogen are made at the T cell level, and knowledge of their functional types is crucial to understanding the functioning and regulation of adaptive immune responses as a whole.

T lymphocytes recognize antigens based on a two-chain protein receptor. The most common and important of these are the alpha-beta T cell receptors ( [link] ).

Alpha-beta t cell receptor

This figure shows the alpha beta T cell receptor in the plasma membrane.
Notice the constant and variable regions of each chain, anchored by the transmembrane region.

There are two chains in the T cell receptor, and each chain consists of two domains. The variable region domain    is furthest away from the T cell membrane and is so named because its amino acid sequence varies between receptors. In contrast, the constant region domain    has less variation. The differences in the amino acid sequences of the variable domains are the molecular basis of the diversity of antigens the receptor can recognize. Thus, the antigen-binding site of the receptor consists of the terminal ends of both receptor chains, and the amino acid sequences of those two areas combine to determine its antigenic specificity. Each T cell produces only one type of receptor and thus is specific for a single particular antigen.


Antigens on pathogens are usually large and complex, and consist of many antigenic determinants. An antigenic determinant    (epitope) is one of the small regions within an antigen to which a receptor can bind, and antigenic determinants are limited by the size of the receptor itself. They usually consist of six or fewer amino acid residues in a protein, or one or two sugar moieties in a carbohydrate antigen. Antigenic determinants on a carbohydrate antigen are usually less diverse than on a protein antigen. Carbohydrate antigens are found on bacterial cell walls and on red blood cells (the ABO blood group antigens). Protein antigens are complex because of the variety of three-dimensional shapes that proteins can assume, and are especially important for the immune responses to viruses and worm parasites. It is the interaction of the shape of the antigen and the complementary shape of the amino acids of the antigen-binding site that accounts for the chemical basis of specificity ( [link] ).

Antigenic determinants

This figure shows three T cells and the antigenic determinants in the center.
A typical protein antigen has multiple antigenic determinants, shown by the ability of T cells with three different specificities to bind to different parts of the same antigen.

Antigen processing and presentation

Although [link] shows T cell receptors interacting with antigenic determinants directly, the mechanism that T cells use to recognize antigens is, in reality, much more complex. T cells do not recognize free-floating or cell-bound antigens as they appear on the surface of the pathogen. They only recognize antigen on the surface of specialized cells called antigen-presenting cells. Antigens are internalized by these cells. Antigen processing is a mechanism that enzymatically cleaves the antigen into smaller pieces. The antigen fragments are then brought to the cell’s surface and associated with a specialized type of antigen-presenting protein known as a major histocompatibility complex (MHC)    molecule. The MHC is the cluster of genes that encode these antigen-presenting molecules. The association of the antigen fragments with an MHC molecule on the surface of a cell is known as antigen presentation    and results in the recognition of antigen by a T cell. This association of antigen and MHC occurs inside the cell, and it is the complex of the two that is brought to the surface. The peptide-binding cleft is a small indentation at the end of the MHC molecule that is furthest away from the cell membrane; it is here that the processed fragment of antigen sits. MHC molecules are capable of presenting a variety of antigens, depending on the amino acid sequence, in their peptide-binding clefts. It is the combination of the MHC molecule and the fragment of the original peptide or carbohydrate that is actually physically recognized by the T cell receptor ( [link] ).

Questions & Answers

what is amenorrhoea
Adamu Reply
either due to gestational phase or lactational phase amenorrhoea is divided into two namely primary and secondary amenorrhoea ..the gestational phase and lactational phase marks a temporary cease in menstrual flow which is termed secondary amenorrhoea...
amenorrhoea is simply a stop or cease in menstrual flow..primary amenorrhoea marks menopause
what are data colletion method in community diagnodis
loice Reply
50 prefix and surfix
Martha Reply
why arteries deeper than veins?!
Cismaan Reply
arteries colour of blood is deeper than that of vein because its blood contains oxygen which is adhered to haemoglobin(a protein which gives the blood its red color) , while vein contains deoxygenated blood(blood without oxygen)
As we know, vein carries used blood to the heart. when we say used blood, we mean to say, blood that its content(oxygen and other nutrients) has been used up.
Arteries are deeper b'cuz they need to be protected.......If they are ruptured they cannot form clot and repair themselves.... Moreover, the pressure of blood is too high for the artery to form the clot and repair itself....... Hence, Arteries are deeper than veins........
Than u all. Special thanks too AMEL JEELANI.
You're welcome......
Thanks all
describe the location of the macula densa and explain its role in the regulation of renin secretion and in tubuglomerular feedback
mwamba Reply
its located near the vascular pole of the glomurelus also regulate blood pressure and the filtration rate of glomurelus
what are the three methods of data collection used during a community diagnosis
Interviews. Questionnaires and Surveys. Observations.
Describe two early induced responses and what pathogens they affect
olivia Reply
what are pathogens
pathogens are disease-causing agents/organisms
pathogen are the causative of disease
thank you sister
What are organelles
The are little organs found in cells of living things... Eg gogi apparatus
what is anatomy
Linda Reply
is the study of the structures of the body and how they relates to each other
Anatomy is the study of the structures of body parts and how they relates to each other
is the study of the structure of the body and how they relates to each other
what are the difference between Pacinian corpuscle and cutaneous vascular plexus?
thivya Reply
what are membranous epithelial tissues
Naa Reply
they are the lining and covering epithelial tissues which cover body surfaces and line cavities... they're grouped into simple and stratified according to the number of layers and squamous, cuboidal and columnar according to their shape
what is an acina
acina is known to be the basic functional unit of the lungs .(singular:- acinus) this is where the alveoli(the gaseous exchange site) is found...
what happens to the unfertilized egg
the study of tissues is called
Scandy Reply
microscopic or histology anatomy
What specific types of biological macromolecules do living things require and why?
Marieland Reply
what is partial pressure?
Tariq Reply
it is the pressure exerted by mixture of gases...
What is the Important of studying anatomy and philosophy
Michael Reply
because to know the mechanisms of our body
to discover the regional structural of human body based on physically and also biochemically.
how many region do we have in human body
nsofor Reply
head thorax abdomen and many kind of...
what is principal ponatine nucleas
Human body can be divided into different regions on the basis of: 1. Systems: e.g. digestive system, respiratory system, excretory system etc.. 2. Parts: e.g. head, thorax, neck, upper limbs, lower limbs etc..
we have 9 region in d human body

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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