chapter  1
28 Pages

Introduction to basic concepts in immunology

WithRoxana Khazen, Salvatore Valitutti

The immune system is a complex network of cells and soluble mediators that evolved to defend the host organism from pathogenic microbes. Since immune responses are endowed with high complexity and plasticity, the understanding of complex immunological networks can strongly benefit from the interdisciplinary work of physicists, applied mathematicians, and experimental immunologist. For successful interdisciplinary collaboration, it is of primary importance that basic concepts are shared in a simplified fashion. In this chapter, we outline some basic concepts to introduce immunology to non-biologists. We provide fundamental knowledge and nomenclature, which is essential to understand the complexity of immunological networks. We detailed T cell antigen recognition and cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) function more than other aspects of immunology. These topics are chosen as examples to illustrate the complexity of the molecular and cellular interactions taking place in the immune system.