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Blood. 2013 May 30;121(22):4551-4. doi: 10.1182/blood-2012-10-464958. Epub 2013 Mar 8.

BCL6 breaks occur at different AID sequence motifs in Ig-BCL6 and non-Ig-BCL6 rearrangements.

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Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Pathology, Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


BCL6 translocations are common in B-cell lymphomas and frequently have chromosomal breaks in immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) switch regions, suggesting that they occur during class-switch recombination. We analyze 120 BCL6 translocation breakpoints clustered in a 2156-bp segment of BCL6 intron 1, including 62 breakpoints (52%) joined to IgH, 12 (10%) joined to Ig light chains, and 46 (38%) joined to non-Ig partners. The BCL6 breaks in Ig-BCL6 translocations prefer known activation-induced cytosine deaminase (AID) hotspots such as WGCW and WRC (W = A/T, R = A/G), whereas BCL6 breaks in non-Ig rearrangements occur at CpG/CGC sites in addition to WGCW. Unlike previously identified CpG breaks in pro-B/pre-B-cell translocations, the BCL6 breaks do not show evidence of recombination activating gene or terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase activity. Both WGCW/WRC and CpG/CGC breaks at BCL6 are most likely initiated by AID in germinal center B-cells, and their differential use suggests subtle mechanistic differences between Ig-BCL6 and non-Ig-BCL6 rearrangements.

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