Synopses & Reviews
This is the first book devoted completely to Histocompatibility Complex (MHC). It concentrates firstly on the question whether neodeterminants resulting from the interaction of MHC with foreign antigen can also be recognized by antibodies. Thus the question of MHC restricted antibodies is discussed in detail. Secondly, the book provides information on how the complex (MHC+X) is recognized by T cells. Finally information about recent findings on other, non immunological, functions of the MHC is given. The contributions stem from a broad panel of researchers from various countries; their views show the very different aspects of MHC function.
After the discovery of the function of MHC molecules, namely to provide the context for T cell recognition of foreign antigens, in 1974 Zinkernagel and Doherty made the first drawing of MHC+X (Fig. 1 from Zinkernagel and Doherty, Nature, 251: 547, 1974). Over the next 18 years a very large number of similar drawings ensued, some of real artistic beauty. One side of the problem, the nature of the T cell receptor, was unraveled; however, we still do not know exactly what kind of a structure the T cell receptor recognizes, al- though in 1987 we learned so much about the structure of MHC molecules and antigen presentation. In schematic presentations no one is now placing the foreign antigen beside the MHC molecule, but rather on top of it, as pointed out by J. L. Strominger at the MHC + X meeting in Paris. The complex of MHC and antigen is named MHC + X, but the precise meaning of this formula remains a "problem perplex," as illustrated in these proceedings by Peter Par- ham. When planning the Ommen/Amsterdam meeting at the begin- ning of 1987, its major aim was seen as to discuss the question of whether MHC + X can induce antibodies and, consequently, their specificity. In other terms, whether - in analogy to antigen specific MHC restricted T cells - MHC restricted antibodies also exist.