The role of somatic hypermutation in the generation of antibody diversity

Deborah L. French, Reuven Laskov, Matthew D. Scharff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

224 Scopus citations

Abstract

The immune system is capable of establishing an enormous repertoire of antibodies before its first contact with antigen. Most antibodies that express germ-line sequences are of relatively low affinity. Once antigen enters the system, it stimulates a somatic mutational mechanism that generates antibodies of higher affinity and selects for the expression of those antibodies to produce a more effective immune response. The details of the mechanism and regulaton of somatic hypermutation remain to be elucidated.

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