The human immunoglobulin repertoire is a hugely diverse set of sequences that are formed by processes of gene rearrangement, heavy and light chain gene assortment, class switching and somatic hypermutation. Early B cell development produces diverse IgM and IgD B cell receptors on the B cell surface, resulting in a repertoire that can bind many foreign antigens but which has had self-reactive B cells removed. Later antigen-dependent development processes adjust the antigen affinity of the receptor by somatic hypermutation. The effector mechanism of the antibody is also adjusted, by switching the class of the antibody from IgM to one of seven other classes depending on the required function. There are many instances in human biology where positive and negative selection forces can act to shape the immunoglobulin repertoire and therefore repertoire analysis can provide useful information on infection control, vaccination efficacy, autoimmune diseases, and cancer. It can also be used to identify antigen-specific sequences that may be of use in therapeutics. The juxtaposition of lymphocyte development and numerical evaluation of immune repertoires has resulted in the growth of a new sub-speciality in immunology where immunologists and computer scientists/physicists collaborate to assess immune repertoires and develop models of immune action.© 2018 The Authors. Immunological Reviews Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Journal: Immunological reviews