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Cellular and Molecular Biology

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T Cell Activation in Toxic Shock Syndrome

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Toxic Shock Syndrome is a disease mediated by the Staphylococcal Toxic shock syndrome toxin 1 (TSST1). This toxin binds simultaneously to a T-cell receptor (outside the antigen-binding cleft) and an MHC II molecule.

This cross-linkage produces an activating signal that induces T-cell activation and proliferation independent of antigen-specificity. The result of this polyclonal activation of T cells leads to overproduction of cytokines and toxicity.

Which of the following terms BEST describes molecules such as TSST1, that activate T cells in this fashion?

A

Superantigens.

B

Thymus-independent antigens.

C

Adjuvants.

D

Immunodominant antigens.