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Blood. 2009 Oct 22;114(17):3601-9. doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-11-188383. Epub 2009 Aug 19.

Reduced immunoglobulin class switch recombination in the absence of Artemis.

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Inserm U768, Paris, France.


Nonhomologous end-joining DNA repair factors, including Artemis, are all required for the repair of DNA double-strand breaks, which occur during the assembly of the variable antigen recognition domain of B-cell receptors and T-cell receptors through the V(D)J recombination. Mature B cells further shape their immunoglobulin repertoire on antigen recognition notably through the class switch recombination (CSR) process. To analyze the role of Artemis during CSR, we developed a mature B-cell-specific Artemis conditional knockout mouse to bypass the absence of B cells caused by its early deficit. Although CSR is not overwhelmingly affected in these mice, class switching to certain isotypes is clearly reduced both in vitro on B-cell activation and in vivo after keyhole limpet hemocyanin immunization. The reduced CSR in Artemis-deficient B cells is accompanied by the increase in DNA microhomology usage at CSR junctions, the imprint of an alternative DNA end-joining pathway. Likewise, significant increase in DNA microhomology usage is the signature of CSR junctions obtained from human RS-SCID patients harboring hypomorphic Artemis mutations. Altogether, this indicates that Artemis participates in the repair of a subset of DNA breaks generated during CSR.

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