Superantigens are bacterial viral or retroviral proteins which can activate specifically a large proportion of t cells in contrast with classical peptide antigen recognition superantigens do not require processing to small peptides but act as complete or partially processed proteins. Viral superantigens mouse mammary tumour virus mmtv mmtv a milk transmitted b type retrovirus causes murine mammary carcinomas the mmtv sags were discovered first by felstenstein in 1974 and were referred to as minor lymphocyte stimulating mls antigens. Summary since the discovery of viral superantigens in 1991 immunologists have made a number of new discoveries the discoveries especially those relating to the interplay between the immune system and viruses producing superantigens have had a great impact on immunology and virology as it appears that some diseases are triggered or exacerbated by viral superantigens. By viral superantigens hans acha orbea and h robson macdonald g enerally t cells recognize antigens as a complex of self major histocompatibil ity complex mhc molecules and short immunogenic peptides this is called mhc restricted recog nition to allow specificity in this interaction t cells express highly
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