THE QUESTION OF THE STRUCTURAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ANTIGEN AND ANTIBODY MOLECULES
ARMY BIOLOGICAL LABS FREDERICK MD
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The mechanism of antibody production, and the reasons why antigens specifically unite with specific antibodies, form one of the central problems of present-day theoretical immunology. The leading position is occupied by the theory advanced in 1928 by N. F. Gamalei and subsequently developed by a number of research workers. According to this theory, the molecules of the antibody are formed in the reticulo-endotheliar cells in response to the incidence in the cell of an antigen protein molecule, which serves as a pattern or die on which newly forming gamma-globulin molecules are stamped out. The union of the antibodies thus formed with the homologous antigen takes place through an action of intermolecular attractive forces of the van der Waals type, non-specific by nature. The specificity of this union is due to a specific spatial distribution, on the surface of the protein molecule, of active groupings so positioned that the molecules of homologous antigens on the one hand and antibodies on the other hand are mirror images of each other. Numerous attempts to provide this theory with a direct experimental demonstration have been unsuccessful. An attempt was made to find some approach to the experimental solution of this problem.
- Medicine and Medical Research