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J Immunol. 2002 Mar 15;168(6):2835-46.

Two new isotype-specific switching activities detected for Ig class switching.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60612,USA.


Ig class switch recombination (CSR) occurs by an intrachromosomal deletional process between switch (S) regions in B cells. To facilitate the study of CSR, we derived a new B cell line, 1.B4.B6, which is uniquely capable of mu --> gamma3, mu --> epsilon, and mu --> alpha, but not mu --> gamma1 CSR at its endogenous loci. The 1.B4.B6 cell line was used in combination with plasmid-based isotype-specific S substrates in transient transfection assays to test for the presence of trans-acting switching activities. The 1.B4.B6 cell line supports mu --> gamma3, but not mu --> gamma1 recombination, on S substrates. In contrast, normal splenic B cells activated with LPS and IL-4 are capable of plasmid-based mu --> gamma1 CSR and demonstrate that this S plasmid is active. Activation-induced deaminase (AID) was used as a marker to identify existing B cell lines as possible candidates for supporting CSR. The M12 and A20 cell lines were identified as AID positive and, following activation with CD40L and other activators, were found to differentially support mu --> epsilon and mu --> alpha plasmid-based CSR. These studies provide evidence for two new switching activities for mu --> gamma1 and mu --> epsilon CSR, which are distinct from mu --> gamma3 and mu --> alpha switching activities previously described. AID is expressed in all the B cell lines capable of CSR, but cannot account for the isotype specificity defined by the S plasmid assay. These results are consistent with a model in which isotype-specific switching factors are either isotype-specific recombinases or DNA binding proteins with sequence specificity for S DNA.

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