Twenty years into the saga of MHC-restriction

Immunol Cell Biol. 1994 Dec;72(6):447-54. doi: 10.1038/icb.1994.68.


Twenty years ago, the terms 'altered self' and 'H-2 restriction', later modified to 'MHC-restriction', were coined to describe the finding by Peter Doherty and Rolf Zinkernagel that murine cytotoxic T cells (CTL) would lyse virus-infected target cells only if effector and target cells were H-2 compatible. This short review recalls those heady days and briefly recounts some of the later findings in three aspects of particular interest raised by the original finding: the nature of the T cell receptor, the composition and structure of the ligand on the target cell recognized by the TCR and the importance of CTL in the control and clearance of infections in general.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergy and Immunology / history*
  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation
  • Histocompatibility
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Cooperation
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / physiology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell