MHC class I molecules, structure and function.

K. Natarajan, H. Li, R. A. Mariuzza, D. H. Margulies

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


MHC class I molecules (MHC-I) are cell surface recognition elements expressed on virtually all somatic cells. These molecules sample peptides generated within the cell and signal the cell's physiological state to effector cells of the immune system, both T lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cells. In addition, molecules structurally related to MHC-I, collectively known as MHC-Ib, are more specialized and, in some cases, interact with more limited subsets of lymphoid cells. Using the recently determined structure of the classical MHC-I molecule, H-2Dd, as a paradigm for structure and function, we review other MHC-I and MHC-Ib molecules, with an emphasis on how the same basic structural fold is employed by classical MHC-I molecules to bind specific peptides and T cell receptors, and is exploited by the MHC-Ib molecules in more stringent molecular interactions. It is instructive that structurally related molecules have evolved to perform a number of unique and distinct functions in immune and non-immune recognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-46
Number of pages15
JournalReviews in Immunogenetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'MHC class I molecules, structure and function.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this