major histocompatibility complex

noun

plural major histocompatibility complexes
: a group of genes in mammals that code for cell-surface polymorphic glycoprotein molecules which display antigenic peptide fragments for T cell recognition and aid in the ability of the immune system to determine self from nonself

Note: The genes of the major histocompatibility complex and the molecules they determine are grouped into 2 classes. Glycoprotein molecules of class I are expressed on all nucleated cells and are recognized by CD8 on the surface of cytotoxic T cells. Glycoprotein molecules of class II are restricted to antigen-presenting cells and are recognized by CD4 on the surface of helper T cells.

often used before another noun
major histocompatibility complex molecules
abbreviation MHC
compare HLA

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Scientists have long known, for example, that children inherit a wider variety of immune defenses when their parents differ greatly in a group of genes called the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 10 Feb. 2022 Finally, in Orf8, which downregulates the major histocompatibility complex (MHC-I), the researchers note H17Y and G8stop. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 22 Oct. 2021 What Pheramor is actually comparing are 11 genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), which code for proteins on the surface of cells that help the immune system recognize invaders. Jackie Mansky, Smithsonian, 15 Feb. 2018 Dr Lobmaier and his team were testing the idea that people literally sniff out partners with appropriate major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes. The Economist, 12 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'major histocompatibility complex.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1972, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of major histocompatibility complex was in 1972

Dictionary Entries Near major histocompatibility complex

major general

major histocompatibility complex

major in

Cite this Entry

“Major histocompatibility complex.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/major%20histocompatibility%20complex. Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

Medical Definition

major histocompatibility complex

noun
: a group of genes in mammals that function especially in determining the histocompatibility antigens found on cell surfaces and that in humans comprise the alleles occurring at four loci on the short arm of chromosome 6

Note: The genes of the major histocompatibility complex and the histocompatibility antigens they determine are grouped into 2 classes. Glycoprotein molecules of class I are expressed on all nucleated cells and are recognized by CD8 on the surface of cytotoxic T cells. Glycoprotein molecules of class II are restricted to antigen-presenting cells and are recognized by CD4 on the surface of helper T cells.

often used before another noun
major histocompatibility complex molecules
abbreviation MHC
compare HLA

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