Our immune system defends us from attack by foreign agents to function properly; an immune system must detect a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and distinguish them from the organism’s own healthy tissue. The recent work on B and T cells, known as lymphocytes produce proteins that recognize antigens and trigger the appropriate immune responses to remove the invaders. To fight against a wide variety of pathogens, an individual’s defensive proteins, known as immunoglobulins and T-cell receptors, have to be extremely diverse in their molecular structure.Immunologists work on lymphocytes shows that this diversity is the result of special genetic recombination and mutation when they divide. The variety of defensive proteins in most of the vertebrates includes 6 key types of proteins which help to recognize foreign agents such as viruses and bacteria, collectively known as immune repertoire. The 6 main types are: immunoglobulins (2), and T cell receptors (4). Immunoglobulin proteins consist of 2 parts, a light chain and a heavy chain. T cell receptors come in 4 types, labelled alpha, beta, gamma and delta.

A person’s immune repertoire is dynamic, changing continuously under the influence of genetic background, age, vaccinations, environmental exposure, and diseases such as immune disorders. High-throughput sequencing of a person’s immune repertoire has many potential applications in medicine. One reason some elderly people are more susceptible to infections is that the diversity of their repertoire declines.

We hope the knowledge on Immune repertoire could even inform genetic engineering to give person’s super-immunity or to reverse immune disorders.

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