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Annu Rev Immunol. 2000;18:19-51.

Receptor selection in B and T lymphocytes.

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Department of Immunology, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


The process of clonal selection is a central feature of the immune system, but immune specificity is also regulated by receptor selection, in which the fate of a lymphocyte's antigen receptor is uncoupled from that of the cell itself. Whereas clonal selection controls cell death or survival in response to antigen receptor signaling, receptor selection regulates the process of V(D)J recombination, which can alter or fix antigen receptor specificity. Receptor selection is carried out in both T and B cells and can occur at different stages of lymphocyte differentiation, in which it plays a key role in allelic exclusion, positive selection, receptor editing, and the diversification of the antigen receptor repertoire. Thus, the immune system takes advantage of its control of V(D)J recombination to modify antigen receptors in such a way that self/non-self discrimination is enhanced. New information about receptor editing in T cells and B-1 B cells is also discussed.

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