History and Overview

  • Hans-Georg Rammensee
  • Jutta Bachmann
  • Stefan Stevanović
Part of the Molecular Biology Intelligence Unit book series (MBIU)


The traits of MHC genes have been noticed as early as in the beginning of the 20th century: a tumor grafted from a mouse to a genetically different mouse was rejected, whereas a tumor transplanted to a mouse of the same strain was not rejected. Thus, the tumor was not rejected on account of tumor-specific antigens but rather because of genetic differences between the mouse strains involved.1 It was not until 1936, however, that what is now known as the MHC was discovered by Peter Gorer, then in London.2 He had produced a rabbitanti-mouse serum for the sake of blood group studies. The reactivity of this serum, called Nr. II, showed a striking correlation with tumor rejection: a tumor of the mouse strain A was rejected by C57 mice and in a certain proportion of (A × C57)F1 × C57 backcross mice. All mice not reactive with the serum rejected the tumor. On the other hand, those mice rejecting the tumor developed antibodies with the same reactivity as rabbit serum Nr. II. Thus, it appeared that what caused tumor rejection was a blood-group like antigen shared by normal and tumor cells.2 Since this antigen was originally discovered because of its recognition by rabbit anti-mouse serum Nr. II and because it resulted in tumor rejection, it was called histocompatibility antigen 2 or H-2—not immediately, however, but about 10 years later by George Snell and Gorer.1


Tumor Rejection Invariant Chain Peptide Motif Peptide Loading Histocompatibility Gene 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans-Georg Rammensee
    • 1
  • Jutta Bachmann
    • 1
  • Stefan Stevanović
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TübingenTübingenGermany

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