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Annu Rev Immunol. 2006;24:541-70.

Mechanism and control of V(D)J recombination at the immunoglobulin heavy chain locus.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Children's Hospital, CBR Institute for Biomedical Research, and Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


V(D)J recombination assembles antigen receptor variable region genes from component germline variable (V), diversity (D), and joining (J) gene segments. For B cells, such rearrangements lead to the production of immunoglobulin (Ig) proteins composed of heavy and light chains. V(D)J is tightly controlled at the Ig heavy chain locus (IgH) at several different levels, including cell-type specificity, intra- and interlocus ordering, and allelic exclusion. Such controls are mediated at the level of gene segment accessibility to V(D)J recombinase activity. Although much has been learned, many long-standing questions regarding the regulation of IgH locus rearrangements remain to be elucidated. In this review, we summarize advances that have been made in understanding how V(D)J recombination at the IgH locus is controlled and discuss important areas for future investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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