Activation of V(D)J recombination induces the formation of interlocus joints and hybrid joints in scid pre-B-cell lines

S. Lew, D. Franco, Yung Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


V(D)J recombination is the mechanism by which antigen receptor genes are assembled. The site-specific cleavage mediated by RAG1 and RAG2 proteins generates two types of double-strand DNA breaks: blunt signal ends and covalently sealed hairpin coding ends. Although these DNA breaks are mainly resolved into coding joints and signal joints, they can participate in a nonstandard joining process, forming hybrid and open/shut joints that link coding ends to signal ends. In addition, the broken DNA molecules excised from different receptor gene loci could potentially be joined to generate interlocus joints. The interlocus recombination process may contribute to the translocation between antigen receptor genes and oncogenes, leading to malignant transformation of lymphocytes. To investigate the underlying mechanisms of these nonstandard recombination events, we took advantage of recombination-inducible cell lines derived from scid homozygous (s/s) and scid heterozygous (s/+) mice by transforming B-cell precursors with a temperature-sensitive Abelson murine leukemia virus mutant (ts-Ab-MLV). We can manipulate the level of recombination cleavage and end resolution by altering the cell culture temperature. By analyzing various recombination products in scid and s/+ ts-Ab-MLV transformants, we report in this study that scid cells make higher levels of interlocus and hybrid joints than their normal counterparts. These joints arise concurrently with the formation of intralocus joints, as well as with the appearance of opened coding ends. The junctions of these joining products exhibit excessive nucleotide deletions, a characteristic of scid coding joints. These data suggest that an inability of scid cells to promptly resolve their recombination ends exposes the ends to a random joining process, which can conceivably lead to chromosomal translocations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7170-7177
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number19
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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