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SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
This course will introduce the structure and function of the families of molecules employed by the immune system to recognize and initiate a responses to antigen. It will provide an essential grounding for the understanding of the complex cellular interactions of the immune response. We will initially look at receptors involved in the recognition of antigens during the early phases of immunity. In particular we will examine Toll-Like Receptors (TLRs), components of the complement system, and receptors expressed on natural killer (NK) cells. In mammals, once an immune response is initiated, more complex families of molecules are used to deal with individual pathogens.A major focus of this course will be the molecules encoded by the MHC.Examination of the structure, polymorphism and intra-cellular trafficking of this family is essential to appreciate their role in 'presenting' antigenic peptides to activate the acquired immune response. MHC presentation of peptide antigens leads to activation T cells via the T cell receptor (TCR). This receptors ability to recognize an almost unlimited range of antigenic peptides associated with MHC molecules will be studied.B cells also recognize antigens via a specialized receptor (BCR). The structure of this receptor as well as the generation of a repertoire of capable of recognizing differing antigens will be examined. This course will conclude by looking at the molecules that transduce signals from antigen receptors. This will include both intracellular pathways, leading to cell activation, as well as the expression of accessory molecules. These include membrane-bound co-stimulation molecules and secreted molecules capable of relaying signals to other cells either locally (cytokines) or further away (chemokines).
College of Science and Engineering
School of Biological Sciences
This article was published on Feb 24, 2012