Claude-Agnès Reynaud and Jean-Claude Weill, 2017 Prize of Honor

Claude-Agnès Reynaud, Director of Research at CNRS, and Jean-Claude Weill, Professor Emeritus of Immunology at the Faculty of Medicine at Université Paris Descartes, have worked side by side since 1981 in the field of adaptive immunology.

Claude-Agnès Reynaud et Jean-Claude Weill © Inserm/Delapierre, Patrick
Claude-Agnès Reynaud et Jean-Claude Weill © Inserm/Delapierre, Patrick

In an effort to understand how chicken antibodies are made, Claude-Agnès Reynaud and Jean-Claude Weill discovered an unprecedented molecular mechanism involved in the production of an infinite variety of antibodies from a single gene. The research pair then discovered a second mechanism that is unique and specific to B lymphocytes. Known as antibody affinity maturation, it allows cells to make more and more precise antibodies that are better and better at recognizing antigens. The term somatic hypermutation of immoglobulins is also used.

The research pair joined the Institut Necker Enfants Malades* in the early 90s. Claude-Agnès Reynaud now leads their Immune System Development team where auto-immune diseases mediated by B lymphocytes are the new experimental models.

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*Inserm unit 1151/CNRS/Université Paris Descartes