Antigen Processing

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Antigen processing is a biological process that prepares antigens for presentation to special cells of the immune system called T lymphocytes. This process involves two distinct pathways for processing of antigens from an organism's own (self) proteins or intracellular pathogens (e.g. viruses), or from phagocytosed pathogens (e.g. bacteria); subsequent presentation of these antigens on class I or class II MHC molecules is dependent on which pathway is used. Both MHC class I and II are required to bind antigen before they are stably expressed on a cell surface.

While the conventional distinction between the two pathways is useful, there are instances where extracellular-derived peptides are presented in the context of MHC class I and cytosolic peptides are presented in the context of MHC class II (this often happens in dendritic cells).

Read more about Antigen ProcessingThe Endogenous Pathway, The Exogenous Pathway

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