Influence of clonal selection on the expression of immunoglobulin variable region genes

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Science  14 Dec 1984:
Vol. 226, Issue 4680, pp. 1283-1288
DOI: 10.1126/science.6334361


The humoral immune response of the mouse to certain antigens is characterized by the dominant expression of a single or limited number of related, immunoglobulin variable region (V) structures by antibody-secreting lymphocytes. Such dominance could be due to preferred expression of these V regions in the B cell population prior to the immune response or could result from the action of selective or regulatory mechanisms during the immune response. Expression of a heavy chain variable region (VH) gene segment that partially encodes a V region structure that dominates the immune response to para-azophenylarsonate (Ars) in strain A mice was examined in the B cell population of Ars nonimmune mice. This VH gene segment participates in encoding several hundred thousand different V region structures expressed in this B cell population. The immune system is therefore capable of recurrently selecting a single V region structure from such a repertoire for dominant expression by antibody-secreting lymphocytes during an immune response.