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Curr Opin Immunol. 1993 Apr;5(2):185-93.

Phylogeny of B-cell development.

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Basel Institute for Immunology, Switzerland.


All vertebrates with jaws (Gnathostomata) have B cells. With the exception of some B cells in cartilaginous fish that express germ-line joined Ig genes, all B cells, irrespective of the organization of their Ig genes (which varies among vertebrates), rearrange the Ig-gene segments somatically. Somatic diversification occurs in all species during rearrangement (junctional diversity) and later by somatic mutation of gene conversion. Somatic mutants are poorly selected in species that lack germinal centers, which may explain the differences in antibody repertoire among vertebrates. The early (larval or neonate) B-cell repertoire is restricted in all species so far studied because of a lack of N-region diversity and in some cases because of a special usage of the D segments of the heavy chain genes.

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