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The structural context of antibody diversity 

The structural context of antibody diversity
The structural context of antibody diversity

Anthony Rees

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date: 28 January 2022

X-ray crystallography for the determination of protein structure had been in the biophysical toolbox since the 1930s. However, the breakthrough in structural studies on antibodies did not occur until the early 1970s. In between structural models were used with various levels of usefulness. With the first structures of antibody Fab fragments came a clear explanation of the molecular basis of antigen recognition. It would take time however to uncover the structural features of whole, intact antibodies, knowledge that would lead to more detailed explanations of antibody function. With the arrival of the 1990s an unexpected discovery in camels would lead immunologists to re-evaluate their understanding of the evolutionary origins of antibody genes.

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