The human antibody repertoire is generated by the recombination of different gene segments as well as by processes of somatic mutation. Together these mechanisms result in a tremendous diversity of antibodies that are able to combat various pathogens including viruses and bacteria, or malignant cells. In this review, we summarize the opportunities and challenges that are associated with the analyses of the B cell receptor repertoire and the antigen-specific B cell response. We will discuss how recent advances have increased our understanding of the antibody response and how repertoire analyses can be exploited to inform on vaccine strategies, particularly against HIV-1.
Keywords: B cell receptors; B lymphocytes; HIV-1; Ig-seq; Rep-seq; antibodies; antibody repertoire; broadly neutralizing antibodies; immunoglobulin; vaccination strategy.