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There Are More Than 1012 Different Antibody Molecules In The Human Body. How Can Our Body Make More Antibodies Than There Are Genes In The Genome?

931 words - 4 pages

There are more than 1012 different antibody molecules in the human body. How can our body make more antibodies than there are genes in the genome? Explain the genetic rearrangement mechanism to produce the antibody diversity.
Immunoglobulins (antibodies) are a group of structurally related proteins produced by plasma cells, secreted into the serum or tissue fluids, and characterized by certain physicochemical and biological properties. Immunoglobulins of mammals can be divided into five major classes, usually called IgM, IgG, IgA, IgD and IgE, which differ physicochemically and immunologically (Zapata & Cooper, 1990). One of the most interesting questions about Ig is the source of immense ...view middle of the document...

Thus, all these combinations will produces large number of different antibodies (Sullivan & Bergman, n.d.). Nevertheless, junctional diversity happen when the gene segments join imprecisely, the amino acid sequences may vary and affect variable region expression and created additional diversity (Cruse & Lewis, 2004). These include the V-J junction of the genes encoding immunoglobulin and light chains κ and λ the V-D, D-J, and D-D junctions.
Figure 1: V(D)J recombination Source: Taken from
Gene rearrangement in B cell requires the product of two recombination activating genes 1 and 2 (RAG-1 AND RAG-2) which appear in V(D)J recombination system. These genes are genes that activated Ig gene recombination and pre-B cells and immature T cells may contain them. Hence, RAG-1 AND RAG-2 or V(D)J recombinase is an enzyme that is able to identify and splice the V, J and in some cases D gene segment that confer antibody diversity. Therefore, with the absent of these genes neither Ig nor T cell receptor protein are produced and block formation of mature T and B cells (Cruse & Lewis, 2004). The recombination recognition sequences are DNA sequences situated adjacent to the V, D, and J segments in antigen receptor loci that are recognized by the RAG1/RAG2 component of V(D)J recombinase. The recognition sequences are comprised if a highly conserved seven nucleotide heptamer situated between the V, D, or J coding sequence, followed by a 12 or 23 non conserved nucleotide spacer and a highly conserved non nucleotide segment termed the nonamer (Cruse & Lewis, 2004).
Antibody diversity is further diversifying through somatic hypermutation (SHM) of the V region to generate high-affinity antigen binding sites. In this connection, improvement of an existing antibody so that it binds its antigen more avidly is mediated by...

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