AQA A Level Biology

Revision Notes

2.5.5 The Role of Antigen-Presenting Cells

The Role of Antigen-Presenting Cells

  • T-lymphocytes produce an immune response when they are exposed to a specific antigen
  • T cells will only bind to an antigen if it is present on the surface of an antigen-presenting cell
    • These cells present the antigens from toxins, foreign cells and ingested pathogens
    • They help to recruit other cells of the immune system to produce a specific immune response
  • An antigen-presenting cell is one of the host’s cells
    • It might be a macrophage or a body cell that has been invaded by a pathogen and is displaying the antigen on its cell surface membrane
  • Once the surface receptor of the T cell binds to the specific complementary antigen it becomes sensitised and starts dividing to produce a clone of cells


Alistair graduated from Oxford University in 2014 with a degree in Biological Sciences. He has taught GCSE/IGCSE Biology, as well as Biology and Environmental Systems & Societies for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. While teaching in Oxford, Alistair completed his MA Education as Head of Department for Environmental Systems and Societies.

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