Chapter

Antigens ubstances that can be recognized by the immunoglobulin receptor of B cells, or by the T-

cell receptor when complexed with MHC, are called antigens. The molecular properties of antigens and the way in which these properties ultimately contribute to immune activation are central to our understanding of the immune system. This chapter describes some of the molecular features of antigens recognized by B or T cells. The chapter also explores the contribution made to immunogenicity by the biological system of the host; ultimately the biological system determines whether a molecule that combines with a B or T cell's antigen-binding receptor can then induce an immune response. Fundamental differences in the way B and T lymphocytes recognize antigen determine which molecular features of an antigen are recognized by each branch of the immune system. These differences are also examined in this chapter.

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