The Clonal Selection Theory

“It is postulated that when antigen-natural antibody contact takes place on the surface of a lymphocyte the cell is activated to settle in an appropriate tissue, spleen, lymph node or local inflammatory accumulation, and there undergo proliferation to produce a variety of descendants. In this way preferential proliferation will be initiated of all those clones whose reactive sites correspond to the antigenic determinants on the antigen used. The descendants will include plasmacytoid forms capable of active liberation of soluble antibody and lymphocytes which can fulfill the same functions as the parental forms. The net result will be a change in the composition of the globulin molecule population to give an excess of molecules capable of reacting with the antigen, in other words the serum will now take on the qualities of specific antibody. The increase in the number of circulating lymphocytes of the clones concerned will also ensure that the response to a subsequent entry of the same antigen will be extensive and rapid, i.e. a secondary type immunological response will occur”.

Nobel Prize 1960

Burnet, F.M., Austr J Sci 20:67-69, 1957

International Union of Immunological SocietiesUniversity of South AfricaInstitute of Infectious Disease and Molecular MedicineElizabeth Glazer Pediatric Aids FoundationStellenbosch University