last updated 16-07-2024

TI-2 antigens

The second type of thymus-independent antigens, called TI-2 antigens, activate only mature B cells. TI-2 antigens are typically composed of repetitive carbohydrate or protein epitopes present at high density on the surface of a microorganism. Typical antigens of this kind are bacterial cell wall polysaccharides. It is thought that they cross-link the B cell receptors and co-receptors to such an extent that the need for additional signals is overridden.


Human B cells develop their full function only when a person is 5 years old, perhaps explaining why infants have a poor antibody response to polysaccharide antigens. TI-2 antigens induce both IgM and IgG but have no long-term immunological memory and thus provide no long-lasting immunity against re-infection.

(Text taken from “the immune system”, Parham, Garland Publishing 2000 page 163.)


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