Innate Immunity

From Louis Pasteur to Jules Hoffmann

Innate Immunity

Yves Carton, EGCE-CNRS laboratory, France

ISBN : 9781785483080

Publication Date : November 2019

Hardcover 324 pp

150.00 USD



Innate immunity is a new branch of immunology, confirmed by three Nobel Prize winners in 2011. It is the first line of defense against pathogens and is in a way the preliminary step of adaptive immunity which occurs later, and only present in vertebrates.

This book examines the way in which innate immunity was discovered in invertebrates. As a starting point, it looks at the work of Louis Pasteur on silkworm disease and the findings of Ilya Metchnikov, discoverer of phagocytosis. It also investigates André Paillot, who in 1920 demonstrated the existence of humoral immunity in insects, unrelated to the type of immunity that was initially thought to present in all vertebrates. Finally, Innate Immunity shows how the group directed by Jules Hoffmann found strong similarities between the innate immunity response of insects and mammals. The discovery of a receptor protein in Drosophila, which is also found in humans, was what led to Jules Hoffmann being awarded the Nobel Prize in 2011.


1. Louis Pasteur and Silkworm Disease (1865–1870).
2. Ilya Metchnikov at the Pasteur Institute (1886–1916).
3. The Post-Metchnikov Era at the Pasteur Institute (1920–1940).
4. André Paillot against the “Phagocytic” Dogma: Humoral Immunity.
5. The Crossing of the Desert for Invertebrate Immunity (1960–1990).
6. The Strasbourg Laboratory: Towards the Nobel Prize (2011).

About the authors/editors

Yves Carton, immunology graduate of the Pasteur Institute, worked as a geneticist at the EGCE-CNRS laboratory and is currently Emeritus Research Director at CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette, France. For many years, he has dedicated himself to the history of science, in particular the fields of entomology, biological control, Darwinism and immunology.

Related subject