Something unknowable in immunology? Simple logic?

Dr. Colin R.A. Hewitt crah1 at
Mon Jan 24 05:40:07 EST 1994

Date:          21 Jan 1994 18:15:27 -0000
From:          txpljfg at
Reply-to:      txpljfg at
To:            "bionet.immunology mail newsgroup" <bionet-news at>
Subject:       Re: Something unknowable in immunology? Simple logic?

 txpljfg at said

>I disagree with the assumption that antigen receptor generation is a
>completely random process, particularly in younger and fetal mammals...........

I agree with your viewpoint that receptor generation is not *completely* random, (I 
actually said......."Since antigen receptor generation is *essentially* a random 
What I was driving at was the lack of evidence for pre-ordained types of *functional* 
T cell receptor designed specifically to recognise particular common antigens.  The 
functional, MHC restricted, repertoire presumably arises by the generation of a huge 
number of receptor shapes, most of which will be useless. Useful receptors must 
therefore be generated (before selection)  at  random; ie  there is no specific 
mechanism in the *generation* of receptors (this is prior to selection) that makes 
them intrinsically useful.
This is not the same as saying that the mechanisms of repertoire diversity generation 
are random.

Dr. Colin R.A. Hewitt
University of Leicester/MRC
Centre for Mechanisms of Human Toxicity
Hodgkin Building
PO Box 138
Lancaster Rd

Phone +44 (0)533 525587
Fax +44 (0)533 525616
E-Mail crah1 at

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