B cells recognize specific antigens by their membrane-bound B-cell receptor (BCR). Functional BCR genes are assembled in pre-B cells by recombination of the variable (V), diversity (D) and joining (J) genes [V(D)J recombination]. When B cells participate in germinal centre reactions, non-templated point mutations are introduced into BCR genes by somatic hypermutation (SHM) (Rajewsky, 1996). V(D)J recombination and SHM create virtually unlimited BCR repertoires.
Journal: British journal of haematology