Genes of the Antigen Processing Pathways


There is overwhelming evidence that a bimodal system exists for processing and presenting antigen to T lymphocytes. This system involves the endogenous and exogenous pathways, responsible for processing and targeting antigen from internal and external sources for presentation on class I and class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules, respectively. The endogenous route supplies antigen predominately from cytosolic sources, such as virus-encoded proteins, whereas the exogenous route facilitates the processing and presentation of antigens captured at the cell surface, such as through endocytosis of antibody-bound (opsonized) pathogens. Such a discrete division of labor in antigen processing is, like most other conceptual models in biology, something of a caricature. However, besides being fundamentally accurate, the bimodal model is an important framework from which to appreciate larger issues of the immune system, such as immunoregulation. For example, distinct and separate pathways for antigen collection and presentation on class I and class II MHC provide an elegantly simple way by which we can imagine the autonomous regulation of antigen presentation to CD8+ and CD4+ T-cell subsets. Nonetheless, reality never quite fully surrenders itself to models and the processing of antigen for class I and class II molecules does appear to overlap. Moreover, the immunoregulatory mechanisms governing CD4 and CDS T-cell-mediated immunity are considerably more complex than can be explained by understanding antigen presentation alone.


Major Histocompatibility Complex Major Histocompatibility Complex Class Antigen Presentation Antigen Processing Proteasome Subunit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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