The human T cell receptor in health and disease

Annu Rev Immunol. 1992;10:71-96. doi: 10.1146/annurev.iy.10.040192.000443.


The T cell antigen receptor (TCR) recognizes antigen in the form of short peptides bound to a major histocompatibility (MHC) molecule. This review provides a synopsis of the current state of knowledge of the structure and function of the receptor and its possible role in human disease. Analysis of the T cell receptor usage of T-cell lines and clones recognizing the same peptide-MHC complex is beginning to shed light onto the structural basis of the TCR-peptide-MHC complex. Also, it is now apparent that there are two mechanisms by which the TCR can interact with the MHC molecule, either through classical peptide interactions or through super-antigens. Finally, we review the role of specific TCRs in human disease. Current evidence in this area is difficult to interpret; however, it is likely that TCR-mediated disease susceptibility exists, and its basis at either a germline or somatic level will soon be clarified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / genetics
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell* / genetics
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell