The role of somatic hypermutation in the generation of antibody diversity

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Science  09 Jun 1989:
Vol. 244, Issue 4909, pp. 1152-1157
DOI: 10.1126/science.2658060


The immune system is capable of establishing an enormous repertoire of antibodies before its first contact with antigen. Most antibodies that express germ-line sequences are of relatively low affinity. Once antigen enters the system, it stimulates a somatic mutational mechanism that generates antibodies of higher affinity and selects for the expression of those antibodies to produce a more effective immune response. The details of the mechanism and regulation of somatic hypermutation remain to be elucidated.

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