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Bio-Rad Major Histocompatibility Complex

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The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is comprised of cell membrane proteins that deliver short peptides to the cell surface, presenting these peptide antigens to circulating immune surveillance cells.

These peptides are mostly self-peptides however during times of infection these can also be antigens from pathogens that, upon recognition and subsequent binding by the immune cells, specifically T cells, result in the generation of an immune response.

The MHC-peptide complex on the cell membrane interacts with the T cell receptor (TCR) with the MHC binding to the TCR and its CD3/CD4 or CD8 co-receptors, while the antigenic epitope is bound by the variable Ig-like domain of the TCR. These interactions stimulate T cell activation. Read our mini-reviews for more detailed information on the TCR and CD3, the major T cell co-receptor.