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EMBO J. 1990 Feb;9(2):435-40.

Murine lambda gene rearrangements: the stochastic model prevails over the ordered model.

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Département d'Immunologie, Institut Pasteur (URA CNRS 359 and Université Pierre et Marie Curie), Paris, France.


The ontogeny of the immunoglobulin (Ig) gene rearrangement in mammalian B cells seems to be ordered. Heavy chain gene segments rearrange first, followed by light chain gene segments, kappa before lambda. The genomic organization of murine lambda locus does not preclude the simultaneous expression of two subtypes from the same chromosome. In order to distinguish between an ordered and a stochastic model of rearrangement, a panel of 67 B cell hybridomas secreting either lambda 1, lambda 2, lambda 3 or lambda x (recently described) were analysed for V lambda J lambda rearrangements. The results show that in 97% of cases, a single rearrangement occurred, favouring the stochastic model over the ordered one. Strikingly, the possibility of having a productive rearrangement if the first try results in an aberrant one is rare. We propose therefore, that the lambda Ig is not necessarily required to ensure allelic and subtypic exclusion mechanisms. Moreover, in 97% of the cases, at least one kappa allele is rearranged. Furthermore, the RS recombination has been detected in 77% of the cases. This suggests that, although the stimulation of kappa precedes that of lambda locus, the RS recombination acts as a transacting albeit dispensable lambda activator.

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