Somatic immunoglobulin hypermutation

Curr Opin Immunol. 2002 Apr;14(2):235-40. doi: 10.1016/s0952-7915(02)00327-8.


Immunoglobulin hypermutation provides the structural correlate for the affinity maturation of the antibody response. Characteristic modalities of this mechanism include a preponderance of point-mutations with prevalence of transitions over transversions, and the mutational hotspot RGYW sequence. Recent evidence suggests a mechanism whereby DNA-breaks induce error-prone DNA synthesis in immunoglobulin V(D)J regions by error-prone DNA polymerases. The nature of the targeting mechanism and the trans-factors effecting such breaks and their repair remain to be determined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / physiology
  • DNA Damage / physiology
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology
  • Gene Rearrangement, B-Lymphocyte / physiology*
  • Gene Rearrangement, T-Lymphocyte / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / genetics*
  • Somatic Hypermutation, Immunoglobulin*
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology


  • Immunoglobulins
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase