MHC-linked class-Ib molecules are a subfamily of class-I molecules that display limited genetic polymorphism. At one time these molecules were considered to have an enigmatic function. However, recent studies have shown that MHC-linked class-Ib molecules can function as antigen presentation structures that bind bacteria-derived epitopes for recognition by CD8+ effector T cells. This role for class-Ib molecules has been demonstrated across broad classes of intracellular bacteria including Listeria moncytogenes, Salmonella typhimurium, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Additionally, evidence is emerging that MHC-linked class-Ib molecules also serve an integral role as recognition elements for NK cells as well as several TCR α/β and TCR γ/δ T-cell subsets. Thus, MHC-linked class-Ib molecules contribute to the host immune response by serving as antigen presentation molecules and recognition ligands in both the innate and adaptive immune response to infection. In this review, we will attempt to summarize the work that supports a role for MHC-linked class-Ib molecules in the host response to infection with intracellular bacteria.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)