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Curr Opin Immunol. 1997 Dec;9(6):831-8.

Activation of autoreactive T cells by peptides from human pathogens.

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Department of Cancer Immunology and AIDS, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Activation of autoreactive T cells is a necessary-but not sufficient-step in the development of T cell mediated autoimmunity. Autoreactive T cells can be activated by viral and bacterial peptides that meet the structural requirements for MHC molecule binding and T cell receptor recognition. Due to the degenerate nature of MHC class II molecule binding motifs and a certain degree of flexibility in T cell receptor recognition, such microbial peptides have been found to be quite distinct in their primary sequence from the self-peptide they mimic.

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