T cell receptor

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The T cell receptors are found on T cells (T lymphocytes). T cells are involved in the cell-mediated response. T cell receptors are dimers. Most commonly T cell receptors consist of two glycosylated disulphide-linked alpha and beta chains. A very small amount is made of a gamma and delta units. The chains are associated with CD3 proteins to make T cell receptors CD3 at the cell surface membrane. Gamma and alpha chains are also associated with CD3 proteins. T cells are able to distinguish antigens which have been processed into surface peptides and bound to MHCs[1].

T helper cells (also called as CD4+ when mature) recognise peptide antigens which are bound to MHC class II molecules on dendrite cells, macrophages and B cells. There are 2 types of T helper cells; Th1 cells destroy virus-infected cells and stimulate B-cell activation and Th2 which assist B-cells to develop into memory cells and plasma cells which manufacture antibodies[2].


  1. Marie-Paule Lefranc, Gérard Lefranc. The T Cell Receptor FactsBook. Academic press: 2001 p14-24
  2. Lydyard, P., Whelan, A., and; Fanger, M. (2011). Immunology (3rd ed., Instant notes series). New York ; London: Taylor and Francis.
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