Immunology Taught by Viruses

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Science  12 Jan 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5246, pp. 173-178
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5246.173


The survival of viruses depends on the survival of susceptible hosts. The vertebrate immune system and viruses have therefore coevolved complementary facets. Evidence from various balanced virus-host relationships illustrates that immunological specificity and memory may best be defined biologically and that the mature immune system does not discriminate between “self” and “nonself.” Rather, B cells distinguish antigen patterns, whereas T cell responses depend on localization, transport, and kinetics of antigen within lymphatic organs.