Since the helper T-cell bonds with specific antigen presented by dendritic cell and that same helper T-cell also activates B-cell by bonding with antigen presented by B-cell, it made me think that the antigens presented by both of them should be same. If that specificity is true, then what's the difference between an antibody and T-cell receptor? Because both T-cell receptor and Antibody are specific to an antigen.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure if this is a homework question, but either way it would help if you state why you need help answering these questions and what you have found so far. $\endgroup$
    – Nicolai
    Jul 9, 2018 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Shawn. You should try narrowing your question. You're asking about antigen presentation and about antibodies vs. T-cell receptors. These are both broad questions in and of themselves. I'm not sure how one would write a good answer to your question as it is currently phrased. $\endgroup$
    – De Novo
    Jul 9, 2018 at 22:54

1 Answer 1


B cell receptors (BCR) work on a similar paradigm, but a different mechanism than the TCR completely, structure aside. When a B cell encounters an antigen that binds to it's BCR, the receptor-antigen complex is internalized where it's processed onto class-II MHC.

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Source: UP Manila Lecture, Marilen Parungao (link)

The peptides have to be processed to ~22-residue fragments to load on MHC-II, and the whole antigen is thus fragmented on the extrinsic processing pathway. To be specific, one antigen becomes many different peptides on many different MHC-II on the same B cell. You can imagine this produces some diversity among peptides suitable that at least one Th cell with similar specificity might bind. Class switching and somatic hypermutation that the B cells undergo help them attain greater utility and specificity, and the membrane-bound BCR is alternatively processed so that the c-terminus domain traffics antibodies to be secreted (2).

On the other hand, the TCR is specific with a little wiggle room to a particular MHC-I or II loaded peptide, with the exception of yδ T cells which have been shown to be largely MHC-independent (3). The same situation follows, however, that your antigen presenting cell or APC has many different peptides of the same antigen loaded on MHC, just as cells expressing MHC-I might, which means that the T cells are also not recognizing the same exact peptide sequence. Since they originate from the same antigen, however, your cytotoxic and helper T cells can be specific for the same "target."


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