Initiation of V(D)J recombination in zebrafish (Danio rerio) ovaries

Hanbing Zhong, Zhi Li, Shuo Lin, Yung Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The assembly of mammalian antigen receptor genes is a lymphoid-specific process. However, rearranged immunoglobulin genes can also be recovered from non-lymphoid tissues of cartilaginous fish. This event, known as germline rearrangement, has been speculated to arise from recombination-activating gene (RAG)-mediated recombination in germ cells. In this report, we demonstrate that zebrafish (Danio rerio) oocytes expressing high levels of RAG-RNA can readily initiate recombination cleavage at immunoglobulin gene loci, providing direct evidence for an ongoing process of attempted germline rearrangement in zebrafish ovaries. This attempted rearrangement is largely unproductive, yielding no accumulation of germline-joined immunoglobulin genes in zebrafish, which is consistent with their general absence in this species. Our data, therefore, substantiate the speculation that RAG might have been derived from a transposase, invading germ cells of ancient species, and later become a dedicated recombinase only expressed in developing lymphocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1784-1792
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • And V(D)J recombination
  • Germline gene rearrangement
  • Ligation-mediated PCR
  • Non-homologous end joining
  • Recombination ends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology


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