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J Exp Med. 2004 Jan 19;199(2):265-70.

DNA polymerase eta is involved in hypermutation occurring during immunoglobulin class switch recombination.

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INSERM U373, Faculté de Médecine Necker-Enfants Malades, Université Paris V, France.


Base substitutions, deletions, and duplications are observed at the immunoglobulin locus in DNA sequences involved in class switch recombination (CSR). These mutations are dependent upon activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) and present all the characteristics of the ones observed during V gene somatic hypermutation, implying that they could be generated by the same mutational complex. It has been proposed, based on the V gene mutation pattern of patients with the cancer-prone xeroderma pigmentosum variant (XP-V) syndrome who are deficient in DNA polymerase eta (pol eta), that this enzyme could be responsible for a large part of the mutations occurring on A/T bases. Here we show, by analyzing switched memory B cells from two XP-V patients, that pol eta is also an A/T mutator during CSR, in both the switch region of tandem repeats as well as upstream of it, thus suggesting that the same error-prone translesional polymerases are involved, together with AID, in both processes.

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