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Trends Ecol Evol. 2008 Jun;23(6):318-26. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2008.02.011. Epub 2008 Apr 23.

Parasite immune evasion: a momentous molecular war.

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ETH Zürich, Institute of Integrative Biology , Universitätsstrasse 16 CH-8092 Zürich, Switzerland.


Current research in immunology shows that parasite evasion of host immunity is ubiquitous and involves a wide range of molecular mechanisms. Furthermore, immune evasion appears to generate a large spectrum of pathogenic effects, such as cytokine storms and inflammation. Understanding the relationships between the beneficial effects of immune evasion and its pathogenic consequences therefore provides a new framework to reassess many of the core questions of the evolutionary ecology of host-parasite interactions, such as the evolution of virulence, immune defence strategies, infective dose and host specificity, and to address questions that thus far could not be satisfactorily analysed.

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