The Adaptive Enzyme Theory


Burnet F.M:  The Production of Antibodies, Macmillan, Melbourne, 1941

“Burnet postulated that once introduced into the body, antigen would find its way into the cells of the reticuloendothelial system, where contact with local proteinases would result in adaptive modification of the enzymes during the dissolution of the antigen molecule. These newly adapted enzymes would then be able to synthesize a globulin molecule specific for the antigen in question. Moreover, these adaptive enzymes would not only replicate within the antibody forming cell itself, but the information for antibody specificity which they carried would be perpetuated also within any daughter cells that might result from proliferative activity. Such an expanded population of specifically adapted antibody forming cells (later called a clone) would account well for the heightened secondary or booster antibody response upon subsequent reexposure to antigen.”

Silverstein, A.M, Cellular Immunology 91, 263-283, 1985