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Nature. 1991 Aug 8;352(6335):530-2.

Kinetic maturation of an immune response.

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MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK.


Is the affinity maturation of antibodies under thermodynamic or kinetic control, or both? We compared the physical constants of hapten binding by antibodies from 2-phenyl-5-oxazolone-specific hybridomas from primary, secondary and tertiary responses. In addition to an increase in equilibrium constant, there was a shift in the antibody repertoire after the primary response towards an immunoglobulin family with an extremely high on-rate constant. This shift occurred in spite of the average or below-average affinity of this group of antibodies. This is consistent with B-lymphocyte proliferation being subject to a kinetic selection, with a premium on binding target antigens rapidly, in parallel with a thermodynamic selection based on binding tightly.

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