Joined: May 2002
Comparative analyses of immunoglobulin genes: surprises and portents.
Nat Rev Immunol. 2002 Sep;2(9):688-98. Review.
|The study of immunoglobulin genes in non-mouse and non-human models has shown that different vertebrate groups have evolved distinct methods of generating antibody diversity. By contrast, the development of T cells in the thymus is quite similar in all of the species that have been examined. The three mechanisms by which B cells uniquely modify their immunoglobulin genes -- somatic hypermutation, gene conversion and class switching -- are increasingly believed to share some fundamental mechanisms, which studies in different vertebrate groups have helped (and will continue to help) to resolve. When these mechanisms are better understood, we should be able to look to the constitutive pathways from which they have evolved and perhaps determine whether the rearrangement of variable, diversity and joining antibody gene segments -- V(D)J recombination -- was superimposed on an existing adaptive immune system.|