Somatic Hypermutation of Immunoglobulin Genes; Immunoglobulin Diversification in Cattle
Diversity is the hallmark of the immune system and somatic mutation generates significant antibody diversity in a number of species including humans, rodents, and cattle. The mechanism responsible for the somatic hypermutation of antibody genes remains one of the unsolved problems of immunology. Work in my laboratory is directed toward the establishment of cell culture systems that will allow the observation and analysis of this process in vitro. Because the ileal Peyer’s patch (IPP) of cattle is the site of massive (involving up to >1X10E11 B cells) developmentally regulated, extensive somatic diversification of antibody genes, it is a principal target of our studies. In collaboration with the Osborne laboratory, we conduct a continuing program to understand the basic mechanisms of antibody diversification in ruminants and to characterize the bovine immunoglobulin heavy and light immunoglobulin loci.