How do granulocytes and macrophages detect enemies?

Axel Boldt axel at
Mon Oct 20 20:49:46 EST 1997


I'd like to thank y'all for answering my question about how the
macrophages detect foes who are presented for the first time (and not
yet bound to antibodies or complement). From what I gather from the
responses, there's a certain set of features that each bacteria has
but no human cell has, and these features are used by the macrophages,
and presumably hard-coded into the genome. 

When compared to the incredibly beautiful mechanism of creating and
employing specific antibodies, the above mechanism appears to be
clumsy and not at all adaptable. For example, I would expect there to
be an incredible evolutionary pressure for the bacteria to avoid this
finite set of features which macrophages detect. Why is this not so?
It seems that the bacteria can change their outfit much more quickly
than humans can change the part of their genome encoding the
bacteria detection mechanism.

 Axel Boldt  **  axel at  **

More information about the Cellbiol mailing list