Difference Between MHC Class I and MHC Class II Proteins

Major Histocompatibility Complex is also known as MHC. MHCs are essential for adaptive immunity. They are required to present antigen for the recognition by T cells. They are a set of genes coding for the surface proteins required to identify foreign antigens. In humans, the HLA (Human leukocyte antigen) complex works similar to MHC. There are two classes of MHC complex – Class I and Class II. Read on to explore the differences between these two classes:

Difference Between MHC Class I and MHC Class II Proteins
MHC Class I
MHC Class II
Distribution
Present on almost all cells which have a nucleus Has a comparatively limited distribution. Typically found in dendritic cells, macrophages, and B-cells
Encoding Genes
HLA-A, HLA-B and HLA-C HLA-D
Antigen Origin
Endogenous origins Derived from extracellular proteins
Enzymes involved (in generating peptides)
Cytosolic Proteasome Lysosomal and endosomal proteases
Peptide loading of MHC
Endoplasmic Reticulum Specialized Vesicular compartment
Functional Effect
Presence of abundant antigens targets the cell for destruction Presence of foreign antigens induce the production of antibodies
Responsive cell and receptor
Recognized by CD8+ receptor of cytotoxic T cell Recognized by CD4+ receptor of helper T cell

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