major histocompatibility complex

noun
plural major histocompatibility complexes

Definition of major histocompatibility complex

: 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 nounmajor histocompatibility complex molecules abbreviation MHC — compare HLA

Examples of major histocompatibility complex in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web 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, "The Dubious Science of Genetics-Based Dating," 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, "Best matesWhat eyes and odours reveal about sexual attraction," 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.

First Known Use of major histocompatibility complex

1972, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of major histocompatibility complex was in 1972

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Cite this Entry

“Major histocompatibility complex.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/major%20histocompatibility%20complex. Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for major histocompatibility complex

major histocompatibility complex

noun

Medical Definition of major histocompatibility complex

: 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 nounmajor histocompatibility complex molecules abbreviation MHC — compare HLA

More from Merriam-Webster on major histocompatibility complex

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about major histocompatibility complex

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