Contact: Alexander Shtifman
Phone: 617-713-8989
alex...@childrens.harvard.edu

 

B lymphocytes produce different classes of antibodies to fight against infections.  This antibody "class-switching" depends on the AID protein that initiates the cuts in antibody genes which are pasted together by proteins that ensure the integrity of genes and chromosomes in our cells.  AID off-target breaks in other genes or defects in the repair process can make chromosomal translocations that fuse antibody genes to other genes, making cancer genes that transform B lymphocytes into B cell lymphomas.  Dr. Zhang’s project will focus on a repair protein termed 53BP1, which is required both for antibody class-switching, as well as for preventing translocations and lymphoma.  This research will help us to understand key steps for both antibody generation and for malignant transformation of B lymphocytes.