Speculations on the evolution of humoral adaptive immunity
journal contributionposted on 10.01.2021, 22:10 by MB Horton, ED Hawkins, Susanne Heinzel, Philip Hodgkin
© 2020 The Authors. Immunology & Cell Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology, Inc. The protection of a multicellular organism from infection, at both cell and humoral levels, has been a tremendous driver of gene selection and cellular response strategies. Here we focus on a critical event in the development of humoral immunity: The transition from principally innate responses to a system of adaptive cell selection, with all the attendant mechanical problems that must be solved in order for it to work effectively. Here we review recent advances, but our major goal is to highlight that the development of adaptive immunity resulted from the adoption, reuse and repurposing of an ancient, autonomous cellular program that combines and exploits three titratable cellular fate timers. We illustrate how this common cell machinery recurs and appears throughout biology, and has been essential for the evolution of complex organisms, at many levels of scale.