Jack L. Strominger
Election Year: 1970
Primary Section: 43, Immunology
Secondary Section: 21, Biochemistry
Membership Type: Member
The study of histocompatibility in man and in other vertebrates has led to the unraveling of the mechanisms of immune recognition and, of course, to the discovery of novel molecules and cells involved in these processes, including class I and class II proteins encoded in the major histocompatibility complex of all vertebrates examined, and the T cell receptors. The normal human response to bacterial and viral infection involves these molecules and results in either the generation of T helper cells and antibodies or of cytotoxic T-lymphocytes. In addition, many important human autoimmune diseases are linked to particular alleles of the class I and class II proteins. Recently, the importance of still another immune recognition system mediated by Natural Killer (NK) cells has become apparent. Immune recognition is being studied at several levels. The major focus of the present work is: 1) studies of natural killer cells and their roles in elimination of viruses and in pregnancy, and 2) studies of the involvement of Class II human histocompatibility proteins in human autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Type I diabetes mellites and pemphigus vulgaris).