Superantigens combine with MHC class-II molecules to form the ligands that stimulate T cells via the V element of the T-cell receptor. Two groups of superantigens have been described so far: first, endogenous murine products that include the MIs determinants, and second, bacterial products such as the Staphylococcal enterotoxins.

Here, we review studies that address the interactions between the foreign superantigens and MHC class-II molecules, the mechanism of T-cell stimulation, and the role that tolerance to self -superantigens plays in shaping the T-cell repertoire. We speculate on the possible evolutionary significance of superantigens.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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