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Nature. 1989 Mar 23;338(6213):350-2.

Isotype exclusion and transgene down-regulation in immunoglobulin-lambda transgenic mice.

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MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK.


A given B lymphocyte makes an antibody containing either kappa- or lambda-light chains, but not both. This isotype exclusion is effected at the level of the rearrangement of the immunoglobulin gene segments, although by an unknown mechanism. An attractive possibility is that, following productive rearrangement of one of the light-chain loci, the newly synthesized light-chain polypeptide inhibits DNA rearrangement for the other isotype. To test such feedback regulation, we have created transgenic mice carrying a rearranged lambda 1-gene. By contrast with the B cells in normal newborn mice which are mainly kappa+lambda-, the B cells in the newborn transgenic mice express lambda- but not kappa-chains. We propose that the synthesis of any light chain, be it kappa or lambda, that allows expression of IgM on the cell surface results in a cessation of all V-J joining. Interestingly, the limited light-chain repertoire of the transgenic mice does not persist and most adult B cells express endogenous kappa-rearrangements and down-regulate the transgene.

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