Research CommentariesImmunology

Expansion of the Allelic Exclusion Principle?

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Science  27 Mar 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5359, pp. 2067-2068
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5359.2067

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Even though each cell has two copies of most genes, in a few cases only one is used. In most of these cases the genes are for cell surface receptors that must be identical all over a cell, such as the immunoglobulin molecules that define the specificity of certain immune cells for foreign antibodies. In this issue, Holländer et al. describe a new example of this allelic exclusion that does not fit this mold--the cytokine IL-2. In his commentary, Chess discusses the mechanisms and possible function of this unusual case of allelic exclusion.