Organization of Antigenic Structures on Cell Surfaces
Faced with the familiar problems of morphogenesis in all its aspects, including its breakdown in cancer, we are more and more forced to conclude that the cell surface must embody elaborate codes of recognition which regulate the orderly deployment of cells within multicellular organisms. The task of elucidating the organization of cell surface elements in terms that might help us to comprehend this can profitably be tackled as an exercise in immunogenetics. This is because serology provides the only general method for recognizing components of the cell surface as individual, discrete elements. Conventional immunogenetic techniques for studying cell surface antigens are somewhat inadequate in this context, dominated as they have been by the practicalities of delineating intraspecies antigen variation (allo-antigens) based on genetic polymorphism (allelism), for purposes of blood transfusion and tissue transplantation. Some progress is being made with new applications directed to the topography or regional distribution of antigens on the cell surface.