Figure 85

Biology of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). A, The biologic function of MHC antigens is to present antigenic peptides to T lymphocytes. In fact, it is an absolute requirement of T-lym-phocyte activation for the T cells to "see" the antigenic peptide bound to an MHC molecule. This MHC restriction has been defined on a molecular basis with the elucidation of the crystalline structures of classes I and II MHC molecules. B, The N-terminal domains of the MHC molecules are formed by the folding of portions of their component chains in ^-pleated sheets and a helices. C, The sheet portions form a floor, and the helices form the sides of a peptide-binding groove.

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