Baruh Benacerraf

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Date of Birth: 10/20/1920

Age: 90

Birthplace: Caracas

Citizenship: Venezuela


Here Boris completed his education. After graduating in 1942 from Columbia University School of general education, B. entered the Medical College of Virginia. After graduation, B. was drafted into the US Army, but he was allowed to continue his studies. In 1943 he became an American citizen. Two years later he received a medical degree and a rank of lieutenant medical officer of the American armed forces. After serving two years in Nancy (France), B. was discharged.

B. As a child suffering from asthma, he was interested in the mechanisms of the immune g iperchuvstvitelnosti, ie abnormal reactions to foreign agents. Many scientists, with whom he consulted, advised him to cooperate with Elvin Kabat, immunohimikom who worked in the Neurological Institute, the School of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. After receiving an invitation to cooperate Kabat, BA in 1948 began to study the mechanisms of allergy. The following year he accepted an invitation to work in Paris Brousse Hospital, where he continued to immunochemical studies.

Despite the fact that work on the study of white blood cells B. functions have been fruitful, he was unable to obtain his own laboratory in France, needed for further scientific growth. BA believed that the position of the foreign scientist impedes the progress in the European scientific community, and therefore, having received an invitation from Thomas Lewis, in 1956, he returned to the United States and became an assistant professor of pathology at the medical school at New York University. Here he has equipped its own laboratory, and again began to research the mechanisms of hypersensitivity, intrigued cellular hypersensitivity. In 1960 he became professor of pathology.

At New York University BA has focused on the study of cells involved in immune response - the body`s defensive response to foreign substances, or antigens. In the early 60-ies. he worked with Gerald M. Edelman, who studied the structure of the antibodies produced by the immune system in response to the introduction of antigens. Research Edelman complicated by the fact that animals on one antigen commonly produced by a mixture of different antibodies. B. decided to check whether the animal can not be immunized (in the beginning he carried out experiments on guinea pigs) ochenprostymi synthetic antigens induce the formation of a homogeneous antibody. "I found out - he wrote later - that some animals react [antigen] antibody production, while others do not."

This fact allowed B. found that the ability to react to specific antibodies are genetically determined. He called IR-related genes genes (from Immuneresponse - the immune response). In 1965, Hugh Jack McDevitt and colleagues found similar genes in mice and found that they are located in the major histocompatibility complex - MHC (Major Histocompatibility Complex). This complex, first described by George D. Snell in the late 40-ies., Is a set of closely related genes, called gene transplant, because due to their differences in the antigens of donor and recipient lead to rejection of the transplanted organ. The complex of the human MHC, called HLA complex was found mainly due to the work of Jean Dosse. In 1968, B. and some of his co-workers went to the National Institutes of Health, where B. was appointed head of the Laboratory of Immunology. Here, he and his colleagues confirmed the data Makdevita using inbred guinea pigs grown in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

In 1970, B. took both a professor of comparative physiology and head of the department of pathology at Harvard Medical School. Two years later, he and his colleagues at Harvard regardless of Donald Shrefflera group that worked on similar themes, discovered restriction, depending on the IR-locus - a phenomenon concerning the functions of the two types of lymphocytes - B and T-cells. These cells play a key role in the immune system`s ability to recognize specific substances and infectious microorganisms react with them. B-cells produce antibodies that interact with foreign antigens, and T-cells react directly with foreign cells. Various types of T-cells can kill tumor cells or infected by viruses and bacteria, as well as enhance or inhibit the activity of specific B-cells. Interaction between T- and B-cells restriction (constrained) MHC complex: T-cell influence the formation of B-cell antibody only if both versions are identical IR-genes. In 1976, other researchers discovered that T-cells can destroy cells infected by viruses, and only if they both have the same transplantation antigens (proteins encoded by the genes of the MHC complex, detected, as already mentioned, and Snell Dosse).

It soon became clear that, although the proteins encoded by the genes and IR-transplant genes from the viewpoint of chemical structure different, their functions are closely related. And those and others can be considered products of the MHC complex. Products transplantation genes found on the surface of most cells in the body, now called class I molecules, and IR-products of the genes that are part of the immune system, - MHC class II.

"The evolutionary role [MHC] restriction - wrote B. - as well as the value of the MHC antigens become clear if we consider the immune responses of T-cells as the mechanisms responsible primarily for recognition of" their "and" foreign "substance on the surface of cells. T-cells must determine that a particular cell becomes malignant transformation or virus infected and that, therefore, it must be destroyed. " He suggested that the MHC class I products in the affected cells for one reason or another change and T-cells are specialized in the slightest recognition of such changes, in particular when combined normal class I molecules with the body`s tumor or viral antigens.

B. put forward the hypothesis that this phenomenon may explain why foreign organs for the transplant so quickly rejected. The fact that T-cells of the recipient to respond to antigens of class I MHC donor (normally slightly different from the recipient antigens), destroying the bearing of cells as well as they destroy cells, antigens of class I which are changed as a result of viral infection or neoplastic degeneration .

The ability to regulate T-cell B-cell activity, as well as recognition of cells infected T-cells is dependent on the recognition of MHC products slightest change. It is believed that B-cells T-cells are informed about how to react with antigen of the antibody produced by "introducing" the antigen with class II molecule. Based on the role of these products IR-genes (human - antigenyHLA-D) in the interactions between the T- and B-cells, one can guess what part IR-gene in immune responses. If no human T-cells which recognize a specific combination of HLA-D and the antigen, this antigen has to be "invisible" and an immune response will not occur.

A growing recognition of the crucial role of the MHC in immune responses has led to the award in 1980, B. Snell Dosse and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries concerning genetically determined structures on the cell surface that regulate immune responses." In his congratulatory speech researcher at the Karolinska Institute, George Klein said B. Doss and Snell "could translate seemingly highly specialized fundamental research in the inbred mice in the areas of critical biological system, which plays a major role in the study of cell recognition mechanisms of immune and transplant rejection reactions. "

At present, BA at Harvard and is continuing to investigate the genetics and biochemistry of MHC and its role in the activity of T-cells.

In 1943 he married Annette B. Dreyfus, Jacques Monod`s niece, whom he met at Columbia University. Their daughter Beryl runs radiologist. Students and colleagues speak highly of BA as a man with "a sharp, clear thinking." Lewis Thomas, with whom Boris was working at New York University, called it "a remarkable scientist."

B. awarded Rebbie Shai Shaknai for Research in Immunology and Cancer at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (1974) and Memorial Prize Duckett Jones Helen Hay Whitney Foundation (1976) and an honorary degree, University of Geneva. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Association of Immunologists. American Society of Experimental Pathology. Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, the British immunological association. French Society of Biological Chemistry. American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was assistant editor of "The American Journal of Pathology

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