Pathophysiology of Autoimmune Bullous Diseases: Nature Versus Nurture
During his long career as a principal investigator and educator, Eli Sercarz trained over 100 scientists. He is best known for developing hen egg white lysozyme (HEL) as a model antigen for immunologic studies. Working in his model system Eli furthered our understanding of antigen processing and immunologic tolerance. His work established important concepts of how the immune system recognizes antigenic determinants processed from whole protein antigens; specifically he developed the concepts of immunodominance and crypticity. Later in his career he focused more on autoimmunity using a variety of established animal models to develop theories on how T cells can circumvent tolerance induction and how an autoreactive immune response can evolve over time. His theory of "determinant spreading" is one of the cornerstones of our modern understanding of autoimmunity. This review covers Eli's entire scientific career outlining his many seminal discoveries.