Synopses & Reviews
This book introduces into a newly developing branch of biology, the semiotics of cellular communication. The number of known cell subpopulations of lymphocytes, their mediators and receptors has increased tremendously in recent years. An intercellular web of recognition and, in turn, activation or depression of various cellular functions joins all lymphocytes. This interaction of a particular lymphocyte in one subpopulation with the appropriate partner from another subpopulation for regulatory or cooperative purposes requires an efficient and unambiguous system of intercellular recognition and pairing, involving the perception of specific signs by each of the cellular participants.
This volume contains the contributions to the workshop "The Semiotics of Cellular Communication in The Immune System" which took place at "11 Ciocco" in the hills north of Lucca, Italy, September -12, 1986. The workshop was the first meeting of what we hope will be a broad consideration of communication among lymphocytes, and focused on the new interdisciplinary branch of biological sciences, immunosemiotics. It is in the realm of the possible, if not the probable, that in the future a number of scientists larger than the thirty present at 11 Ciocco will find immunosemiotics to fill a need in scientific thinking and a gap between biology and the humanities. This might lead to growth and flourishing of the branch, and in this case the first conference and this first book could be blessed by the impalpable qual ity of becoming "historical", if in an admittedly 1 imited sense. Just in case this should happen the organizers/editors think it wise to set the record straight at this particular time, about the sequen e of events and circumstances that crystallized the archeology of the "11 Liocco" gathering. They feel a sort of obligation to this endeavor: it has happened all too often that innocent historians have been left in utter confusion by the careless founders of new religions, schisms, revolutions, et cetera, who simply forget to jot down the facts before the whirlwind of time engulfs them in its fog.
Table of Contents
Semiotics and Immunology: An Introduction.- Conceptual Debt of Semiotics to Immunology.- General Aspects of Communication Within the Immune System.- Intermezzo.- Organizational Patterns, and the Origin of Meaning.- Self-Referential and Autonomous Nature of Immune System.- The Creation of Signs and the Language of Immune Interaction.- Cellular Connectivity and Suppression.- Choices and Decisions.