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Immunol Rev. 2010 Sep;237(1):22-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2010.00935.x.

Allelic exclusion of immunoglobulin genes: models and mechanisms.

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  • 1Division of Immunology & Pathogenesis, Department of Molecular & Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.

Abstract

The allelic exclusion of immunoglobulin (Ig) genes is one of the most evolutionarily conserved features of the adaptive immune system and underlies the monospecificity of B cells. While much has been learned about how Ig allelic exclusion is established during B-cell development, the relevance of monospecificity to B-cell function remains enigmatic. Here, we review the theoretical models that have been proposed to explain the establishment of Ig allelic exclusion and focus on the molecular mechanisms utilized by developing B cells to ensure the monoallelic expression of Ig kappa and Ig lambda light chain genes. We also discuss the physiological consequences of Ig allelic exclusion and speculate on the importance of monospecificity of B cells for immune recognition.

PMID:
20727027
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2928156
Free PMC Article

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