DONALD C.SHREFFLER

April 29, 1933–August 8, 1994

BY CHELLA DAVID

DONALD SHREFFLER’S STUDIES ON the mouse H2 system played a major role in shaping immunology. Today the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes are the focus of study in many areas of immunology. The MHC molecules shape the T cell repertoire in the thymus by positive and negative selection, and in the periphery they generate the CD8 and CD4 T cells restricted by the MHC molecules to play a critical role in immunity. Specific MHC molecules appear to predispose the individual carrying them to develop certain autoimmune diseases. Structure/function studies on the MHC genes, their products, and on their role in human immunity and disease are widespread. In the 1960s the MHC genes were only an obscure curiosity studied by a handful of scientists interested in tumors and transplantation. The pioneers of the mouse H2 system played a critical role in the genetic fine structure studies and in developing inbred, congenic, recombinant strains of mice and reagents that were essential in developing the field. Donald Shreffler was one of those pioneers who paved the way for the explosion that occurred in this field during the 1960s and 1970s. He also provided precious mouse strains and reagents, as well as advice, to many scientists initiating these experimental studies. His work in the mouse also enabled the



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