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Mol Med Today. 2000 Mar;6(3):125-32.

Superantigens - powerful modifiers of the immune system.

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School of Biological Sciences, Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Auckland, Private Bag, 92019, Auckland, New Zealand.


Superantigens are powerful microbial toxins that activate the immune system by binding to class II major histocompatibility complex and T-cell receptor molecules. They cause a number of diseases characterized by fever and shock and are important virulence factors for two human commensal organisms, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes, as well as for some viruses. Their mode of action and variation around the common theme of over-stimulating T cells, provides a rich insight into the constant battle between microbes and the immune system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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