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Article
July 26, 1930

SPECIFICITY OF THE PROTEIN MOLECULE

JAMA. 1930;95(4):270. doi:10.1001/jama.1930.02720040028012
Abstract

Conventional theories of immunity assume that each protein molecule gives rise to a single specific antibody, the specific serologic reactions being tests of the antigenic properties of the protein molecule as a whole. From this theory of antibody formation the view naturally follows that acquired specific protein hypersensitiveness can result only from previous absorption or administration of the same or approximately the same specific protein. Moreover, therapeutic desensitization is effected only with this protein. A radical revision of this clinical deduction is suggested by the recent demonstration of submolecular immunologic "determinants" in the protein complex, with the suggested possibility that a single protein molecule may carry numerous determinants and thus give rise to numerous major and minor specific antibodies, primary and secondary specific allergies and immunities. It is even conceivable that future antiallergic therapies will be concerned mainly with endocrine and chemotherapeutic control of these relatively simple subprotein entities rather

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