Functional and Structural Considerations in the Recognition of Virus-Infected Cells by Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes

  • T. J. Braciale
  • G. L. Ada
  • K. L. Yap
Part of the Contemporary Topics in Molecular Immunology book series (CTI)


Over the past decade, the mammalian major histocompatibility gene complex (MHC) has been shown to play a critical role in a variety of immunological phenomena. Since the initial observations of MHC control of the humoral immuue responses to specific antigens (McDevitt and Benacerraf, 1969), it has become increasingly evident that seemingly diverse immune functions are directly influenced by the MHC. Thus, for example, genes of the MHC not only function in the collaborative interaction between antibody-forming-cell precursors (B cells) and thymus-derived (T) cells of the helper (Kindred and Shreffler, 1972; Katz et al, 1973) and suppressor (Pierce and Kapp, 1976) subclasses, but also control the effector activity of the T-cell subclass involved in manifestations of cell-mediated immunity, i.e., delayed-type hypersensitivity (Miller, J. F. A. P. et al., 1975) and cell-mediated cytotoxicity in vitro (Doherty et al., 1976a). Detailed analysis of the fine structure of the MHC, particularly the MHC of the mouse (H-2), has established the existence of distinct subregions in the MHC (Shreffler and David, 1975; Klein, 1975). These genetic subregions, which appear to code for distinct gene products, also appear to be associated with specific immune functions (Shreffler and David, 1975; Klein, 1976). Among the immune functions under the control of the MHC, the ability of specifically sensitized murine cytotoxic T lymphocytes to destroy appropriate target cells has been demonstrated to be restricted to target cells that share genes in the H-2 complex with the cytotoxic cell donor (Doherty et al, 1975a). This phenomenon has stimulated intense interest among immunobiologists. Furthermore, since recent observations and speculations concerning the mechanism of cytotoxic T-cell recognition relate directly to such issues as the molecular nature of the cytotoxic T-cell receptor and the spatial arrangement of H-2 gene products and foreign determinants on the target-cell surface, this phenomenon has now entered the domain of the molecular immunologist and the membrane biochemist.


Influenza Virus Spleen Cell Viral Antigen Major Histocompatibility Gene Complex Minor Histocompatibility Antigen 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. J. Braciale
    • 1
  • G. L. Ada
    • 1
  • K. L. Yap
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology John Curtin School of Medical ResearchAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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