The Immune System

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

118 Citations (Scopus)
739 Downloads (Pure)


All organisms are connected in a complex web of relationships. Although many of these are benign, not all are, and everything alive devotes significant resources to identifying and neutralizing threats from other species. From bacteria through to primates, the presence of some kind of effective immune system has gone hand in hand with evolutionary success. This article focuses on mammalian immunity, the challenges that it faces, the mechanisms by which these are addressed, and the consequences that arise when it malfunctions.

“Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em, And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.” Augustus De Morgan (1872)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-301
Number of pages27
JournalEssays in Biochemistry
Issue number3
Early online date26 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2016


  • basic
  • immunology
  • review


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