One AID to Unite Them All

Science  15 Feb 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5558, pp. 1244-1245
DOI: 10.1126/science.1070023

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By creating an extremely diverse antibody repertoire, B cells protect the body against numerous infectious pathogens. Generation of this antibody repertoire depends on immunoglobulin gene modification events driven by four different molecular processes: V(D)J recombination, somatic hypermutation, class switch recombination, and gene conversion. The enzyme AID (activation-induced cytidine deaminase) is known to be involved in somatic hypermutation and class switch recombination. In their Perspective, Fugmann and Schatz explain that AID is also essential for gene conversion ( Arakawa et al.) and discuss how AID could operate in these three quite different processes.