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J Exp Med. 2005 Feb 7;201(3):341-8.

Direct in vivo VH to JH rearrangement violating the 12/23 rule.

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The CBR Institute for Biomedical Research, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


V(D)J recombination at the immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) locus follows the 12/23 rule to ensure the correct assembly of the variable region gene segments. Here, we report characterization of an in vivo model that allowed us to study recombination violating the 12/23 rule, namely a mouse strain lacking canonical D elements in its IgH locus. We demonstrate that VH to JH joining can support the generation of all B cell subsets. However, the process is inefficient in that B cells and antibodies derived from the DH-less allele are not detectable if the latter is combined with a wild-type IgH allele. There is no preferential usage of any particular VH gene family or JH element in VHJH junctions, indicating that 23/23-guided recombination is possible, but is a low frequency event at the IgH locus in vivo.

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