Research CommentariesImmunology

Fixing Mismatches

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Science  20 Feb 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5354, pp. 1159-1160
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5354.1159

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Summary

The body develops and modifies the antibodies with which it defends against invading pathogens by mutating one of the antibody genes, the variable gene. Shannon and Weigert discuss new and surprising results about the mechanism by which this hypermutation takes place (Cascalho et al., p. 1207 of this issue) in which a protein that usually repairs defects in DNA is co-opted to actually cause mutations.