The self nonself discrimination. A one or two signal mechanism?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations


The authors propose to evaluate the competing theories of induction and paralysis. Their analysis has been evoked by Coutinho & Moller's perceptive discussion of this question. The first step in the Coutinho Moller analysis consisted of reducing all formulations of the self nonself discrimination to two competing theories that they term the one and two signal models of induction and paralysis. Their second step was to provide a precisely stated one signal model. Thus they gave us a framework within which to discuss the self nonself discrimination problem in a way that should not permit misinterpretation of the argument. The progression of the argument will be opposite that of Coutinho & Moller. Their one signal model is derived essentially from an attempt to understand polyclonal induction (Section VIII), which of course is explained with admirable simplicity. However, they ignore what is known about the way in which the decision between induction and paralysis is made by the normal immune system. It is this key distinction that the one signal model cannot account for and which led to the postulation of the two signal model. The authors, therefore, open by developing the reasoning that leads to one and two signal models before showing why all one signal models are untenable. The authors close by arguing that the available data on polyclonal induction can be explained in many ways compatible with a two signal model and for this reason present no challenge to it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalScandinavian Journal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1975
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

Cite this