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Nature. 1990 Nov 22;348(6299):342-4.

Induction of RNA-stabilized DNA conformers by transcription of an immunoglobulin switch region.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Alabama, Birmingham 35294.


A deletion DNA rearrangement is associated with immunoglobulin class switching from IgM to IgG, IgA or IgE This recombination occurs in immunoglobulin switch regions, which are complex, highly repetitive regions of DNA. As switch regions become transcriptionally active just before switch recombination, analysis of the behaviour of these sequences during transcription could elucidate the mechanism of switch recombination. Here, we report that transcription of a supercoiled plasmid containing the murine IgA switch region (S alpha) leads to a loss of superhelical turns. The resulting series of less supercoiled plasmids is stabilized by RNA-DNA hybrids formed by the nascent RNA transcripts, which remain base-paired with their DNA templates.

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