Defining the Elusive Molecular Self

  • Matthew N. Davies
  • Darren R. FlowerEmail author
Part of the Immunomics Reviews: book series (IMMUN, volume 3)


Within this chapter, and within the concept of immunology, we review the key idea of “self,” and thus the idea of “non-self,” as it manifests itself at the molecular level. Operationally, and at a high level, the immune system can rightly be seen as a community of agents that discriminates between self and non-self and attempts to suppress or eliminate the latter. Much discussion of self within immunology has been abstract and quasi-philosophical. Indeed, self and non-self are important and inspiring metaphors for both theoretical immunology and computer science. In this review, we look instead at the molecular components of self and non-self, and thus actualise reified abstractions into the concrete and corporeal entities that can form the basis of molecular therapeutics.


Endoplasmic Reticulum Monozygotic Twin Cell Epitope iNKT Cell Dizygotic Twin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Jenner InstituteUniversity of OxfordBerkshireUK

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