The Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, Eprints Archive

A mathematical model for germinal centre kinetics and affinity maturation

Iber, D. and Maini, P. K. (2002) A mathematical model for germinal centre kinetics and affinity maturation. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 219 (2). pp. 153-175.



We present a mathematical model which reproduces experimental data on the germinal centre (GC) kinetics of the primed primary immune response and on affinity maturation observed during the reaction. We show that antigen masking by antibodies which are produced by emerging plasma cells can drive affinity maturation and provide a feedback mechanism by which the reaction is stable against variations in the initial antigen amount over several orders of magnitude. This provides a possible answer to the long-standing question of the role of antigen reduction in driving affinity maturation. By comparing model predictions with experimental results, we propose that the selection probability of centrocytes and the recycling probability of selected centrocytes are not constant but vary during the GC reaction with respect to time. It is shown that the efficiency of affinity maturation is highest if clones with an affinity for the antigen well above the average affinity in the GC leave the GC for either the memory or plasma cell pool. It is further shown that termination of somatic hypermutation several days before the end of the germinal centre reaction is beneficial for affinity maturation. The impact on affinity maturation of simultaneous initiation of memory cell formation and somatic hypermutation vs. delayed initiation of memory cell formation is discussed.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:n/a
Subjects:A - C > Biology and other natural sciences
Research Groups:Centre for Mathematical Biology
ID Code:385
Deposited By:Philip Maini
Deposited On:17 Nov 2006
Last Modified:20 Jul 2009 14:20

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