MHC structure and function – antigen presentation. Part 1
The setting for the occurrence of an immune response is that of the need to cope with a vast array of different antigens from both pathogenic and non-pathogenic sources. When the first barriers against infection and innate defense fail, adaptive immune response enters the stage for recognition of the antigens by means of extremely variable molecules, namely immunoglobulins and T-cell receptors. The latter recognize the antigen exposed on cell surfaces, in the form of peptides presented by the HLA molecule. The first part of this review details the central role played by these molecules, establishing the close connection existing between their structure and their antigen presenting function.