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Superantigen: class of bacterial and viral proteins which stimulate a large proportion of T lymphocytes based on the expression of specific T cell antigen receptor Vbeta elements and thus do not require antigen processing by MHC class II molecules.
Superantigen: Microbial antigens that have in common an extremely potent activating effect on T-cells that bear a specific variable region. Superantigens cross-link the variable region with class II MHC proteins regardless of the peptide binding in the T-cell receptor's pocket. The result is a transient expansion and subsequent death and anergy of the T-cells with the appropriate variable regions.
Source: MeSH 2007
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