Molecular Mimicry

The process in which structural properties of an introduced molecule imitate or simulate molecules of the host. Direct mimicry of a molecule enables a viral protein to bind directly to a normal substrate as a substitute for the homologous normal ligand. Immunologic molecular mimicry generally refers to what can be described as antigenic mimicry and is defined by the properties of ANTIBODIES raised against various facets of EPITOPES on the viral protein. (From Immunology Letters 1991 May;28(2):91-9).