Question: Antigen presenting cells display processed antigens to T cells through which MHC molecule?

Antigen presentation
Question:  So for antigen presenting cells which are infected get recognized by immune system through MHC I. But CD4 cells recognize through MHC II, right?
Asked by: saipeeps

Antigen presenting cells (APCs) have MHC I & well as MHC II.
APCs have to make sure all the cells recognize the invader properly.

Say, I draw a cartoon of someone on a coloring paper.
Not everyone can recognize the real person by the cartoon drawing.
Some people may need an oil painting on a proper portrait to recognize.

I drew the same thing but on different paper with different coloring material.
Think of MHC class II as the coloring paper & MHC class I as the oil painting.

Now, if I have to make sure that all my cops recognize the invader.. I’ll show both the cartoon drawing & the oil painting (MHC class I as well as MHC class II).

Helper CD4+ T cells will easily recognize through the cartoon drawing (MHC class II) and get activated.

Cytotoxic CD8+ T cells won’t recognize the cartoon, they’ll look at the oil painting (MHC class I) to recognize the invader.

I guess what confuses some is that they think T cells are all the same, they fail to realize that every cell is unique & different. There are different types of T cells & different ways to present antigens.
Hope it clears things =)

Read more: Why do Antigen Presenting cells have MHC class I?


  1. Thank you very much I like your story and binding with science now I understand by easily .

  2. One more thing can help you to remember which cell (CD4+ or CD8+) binds with which MHC.
    You need to get 8 always.
    If you have CD4+ then with MHC class II (4*2=8)
    If you have CD8+ then with MHC class I (8*1=8)