11 巻 (2015) p. 85-92
Interaction only within specific molecules is a requisite for accurate operations of a biochemical reaction in a cell where bulk of background molecules exist. While structural specificity is a well-established mechanism for specific interaction, biophysical and biochemical experiments indicate that the mechanism is not sufficient for accounting for the antigen discrimination by T cells. In addition, the antigen discrimination by T cells also accompanies three intriguing properties other than the specificity: sensitivity, speed, and concentration compensation. In this work, we review experimental and theoretical works on the antigen discrimination by focusing on these four properties and show future directions towards understanding of the fundamental principle for molecular discrimination.