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Developmental Immunology
Volume 9, Issue 4, Pages 233-243

The Dynamics of Germinal Centre Selection as Measured by Graph-Theoretical Analysis of Mutational Lineage Trees

1Departments of Immunobiology and Histopathology, GKT Medical School, London, UK
2Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan 52900, Israel
3Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan 52900, Israel

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We have developed a rigorous graph-theoretical algorithm for quantifying the shape properties of mutational lineage trees. We show that information about the dynamics of hypermutation and antigen-driven clonal selection during the humoral immune response is contained in the shape of mutational lineage trees deduced from the responding clones. Age and tissue related differences in the selection process can be studied using this method. Thus, tree shape analysis can be used as a means of elucidating humoral immune response dynamics in various situations.