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DNA Repair (Amst). 2006 Mar 7;5(3):392-8. Epub 2006 Jan 26.

Normal hypermutation in antibody genes from congenic mice defective for DNA polymerase iota.

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Laboratory of Molecular Gerontology, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


Several low fidelity DNA polymerases participate in generating mutations in immunoglobulin genes. Polymerase eta is clearly involved in the process by causing substitutions of A:T base pairs, whereas polymerase iota has a controversial role. Although the frequency of mutations was decreased in the BL2 cell line deficient for polymerase iota, hypermutation was normal in the 129 strain of mice, which has a natural nonsense mutation in the Poli gene. It is possible that the mice compensated for the defect over time, or that polymerase eta substituted in the absence of polymerase iota. To examine polymerase iota in a genetically defined background, we backcrossed the 129 nonsense mutation to the C57BL/6 strain for six generations. Class switch recombination and hypermutation were studied in these mice and in congenic mice doubly deficient for both polymerases iota and eta. The absence of both polymerases did not affect production of IgG1, indicating that these enzymes are not involved in switch recombination. Poli(-/-F6) mice had the same types of nucleotide substitutions in variable genes as their C57BL/6 counterparts, and mice doubly deficient for polymerases iota and eta had the same mutational spectrum as Polh-/- mice. Thus, polymerase iota did not contribute to the mutational spectra, even in the absence of polymerase eta.

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