Clonal selection is central to immune function, but it is complemented by 'receptor selection', which regulates the immune repertoire not by cell death or proliferation but through the control of antigen receptor gene recombination. Inappropriate receptors, such as those that are autoreactive, underexpressed, or that fail to promote positive selection of thymocytes or B cells, stimulate secondary V-to-J recombinations that destroy and replace receptor genes. These processes play a central role in lymphocyte repertoire development. Recent work on the role of receptor selection in B and T cells has uncovered evidence for and against antigen-induced editing in thymocytes. Many studies suggest that editing plays a central role in B and T lymphocyte repertoire development. Important recent evidence has been uncovered addressing the role of tolerance-induced editing in thymocytes.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank Charlie Surh, Nick Gascoigne Steve Jameson for helpful comments on the manuscript. Supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health to DN and KAH.