The Generation of Antibody Diversity: Its Dependence on Antigenic Stimulation

  • A. J. Cunningham


How antibody diversity arises is a central problem in immunology. Older instructionist theories have been abandoned with increasing knowledge of mechanisms of protein synthesis, and the selectionist ideas have been experimentally confirmed: each lymphocyte seems to be restricted to the synthesis of one type of antibody-combining site. This implies that a vast array of different lymphocytes exists within an animal. How these arise is not clear. The germ-line theory (Hood and Prahl, 1971) says that all genes are carried by each cell, a process of selective gene expression ensuring that only one VL and one VH gene product are released per cell. Somatic mutation (Cohn, 1972) or recombination (Gaily and Edelman, 1972) theories say that a range of genetically different lymphocytes is produced during ontogeny by random changes in the DNA.


Antigen Stimulation Secondary Response Sheep Erythrocyte Antibody Diversity Environmental Antigen 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. Cunningham
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology John Curtin School of Medical ResearchAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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