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Science 291 (5508): 1541-1544

Copyright © 2001 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Contribution of Receptor Editing to the Antibody Repertoire

Rafael Casellas,1 Tien-An Yang Shih,1 Markus Kleinewietfeld,3 Jasna Rakonjac,1* David Nemazee,4 Klaus Rajewsky,3 Michel C. Nussenzweig12dagger

Receptor editing, clonal deletion, and anergy are the mechanisms by which B cells maintain tolerance to self antigens. To determine the extent to which receptor editing shapes the normal antibody repertoire, we generated an immunoglobulin kappa  polymorphism that facilitates the detection of editing of immunoglobulin light chains in vivo. We found that B cells are targeted for editing during a 2-hour delay in development at the pre-BII cell stage, and that about 25% of all antibody molecules are produced by gene replacement. These results suggest that receptor editing represents a major force in shaping the antibody repertoire.

1 Laboratory of Molecular Immunology,
2 Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021, USA.
3 Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne, Weyertal 121, 50931 Cologne, Germany.
4 Department of Immunology, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.
*   Present address: Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

dagger    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: nussen{at}

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