In this Chapter, we have reviewed the complex web of cellular interactions that lead to the immune response. We have seen that the immune response represents the outcome of interactions between antigen-presenting cells, T cells and B cells. For most antigens, there is an obligatory requirement for T cell help, which in turn requires processing of antigen and presentation of peptides in the groove of MHC molecules. Activation of lymphocytes also requires signalling via accessory molecules, CD40 in the case of B cells and CD28 in the case of T cells. T cells possess gaps of nonresponsiveness in their repertoire, owing to deletion of some clones by self-tolerance, failure of some MHC molecules to bind certain peptides, and failure to transport some peptides from the cytoplasm to the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum.
In the following chapter, we will explore the features of antigen that determine the outcome of encounters with the immune system.
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