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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012, Article ID 163453, 8 pages
Review Article

Mechanisms behind Functional Avidity Maturation in T Cells

Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 3, DK-2200 Copenhagen, Denmark

Received 15 October 2011; Accepted 26 January 2012

Academic Editor: Niels Olsen Saraiva Camara

Copyright © 2012 Marina Rode von Essen et al. 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.


During an immune response antigen-primed B-cells increase their antigen responsiveness by affinity maturation mediated by somatic hypermutation of the genes encoding the antigen-specific B-cell receptor (BCR) and by selection of higher-affinity B cell clones. Unlike the BCR, the T-cell receptor (TCR) cannot undergo affinity maturation. Nevertheless, antigen-primed T cells significantly increase their antigen responsiveness compared to antigen-inexperienced (naïve) T cells in a process called functional avidity maturation. This paper covers studies that describe differences in T-cell antigen responsiveness during T-cell differentiation along with examples of the mechanisms behind functional avidity maturation in T cells.