New Thoughts on the Control of Self-Recognition, Cell Interactions, and Immune Responsiveness by Major Histocompatibility Complex Genes
It is abundantly clear that our perceptions about the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) have changed quite substantially during the 1970’s. No longer does the term histocompatibility connote merely identities, similarities, or differences among tissue-transplantation antigens inherited by each individual member of a given species. Now, that term stands for a polymorphic family of genes and molecules the biological functions of which appear to play central roles in governing cell differentiation, cell-cell recognition, quality as well as quantity of immunological responsiveness, and probably a variety of other functions that have yet to be discovered. The realization that the biological importance of the MHC is broader than had initially been apparent has generated considerable excitement, a flurry of basic research endeavors, and an increasingly voluminous literature that becomes more and more difficult to keep track of and, at times, to understand. As can be expected, much of the literature, particularly recently, tends to be a bit repetitious in terms of both experimental approach and interpretation of data, a situation that seems to be inevitable whenever a given area of science is highly popular and pursued by large numbers of investigators. In view of this problem, this chapter was purposely prepared with its main goal being to share some new thinking, supported in part by new data, on some rather well-worn topics pertaining to involvement of MHC genes and molecules in immunological responses.
KeywordsHelper Activity Adaptive Differentiation Bone Marrow Chimera Complex Antigenic Determinant Partner Cell
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