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superantigen


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An antigen that will activate all T cells with a T-cell receptor that has a particular Vβ sequence (of which there are ~50), a far greater number than activated by a normal antigen. Superantigens are presented on MHC class II but are not processed and do not bind to the normal peptide binding site. The best-known examples are staphylococcal and streptococcal enterotoxins, which excite such a broad response that the immune system is overwhelmed.

Subjects: Chemistry — Medicine and Health.


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