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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1989 Jul;86(14):5552-6.

Immunoglobulin lambda light-chain-related genes 14.1 and 16.1 are expressed in pre-B cells and may encode the human immunoglobulin omega light-chain protein.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Monsanto Co., Saint Louis, MO 63198.


Human pre-B cells, which produce immunoglobulin heavy chain but do not produce immunoglobulin light chain, are shown to contain a 1-kilobase transcript homologous to immunoglobulin lambda light-chain genes. Detailed analysis of RNA and cDNA clones derived from these transcripts reveals that they originate from the distinct immunoglobulin lambda-like genes 14.1/16.1. Sequence analysis of these clones reveals a long open reading frame, beginning with an ATG, capable of encoding a protein of 214 amino acids with an unprocessed molecular weight of 22,944. The C-terminal half of this predicted protein is highly homologous to immunoglobulin lambda light-chain joining and constant region protein sequence, while the amino-terminal end does not share homology with variable regions. Unlike immunoglobulin genes, these genes do not undergo rearrangement prior to expression. Analysis of a panel of 26 hematopoietic cell lines reveals that expression of 14.1/16.1 is limited to pre-B cells and one B-cell line, which, like the pre-B cells, is surface immunoglobulin negative. Antisera raised against a peptide whose sequence was predicted from the 14.1 cDNA sequence identifies a 22-kDa protein in human pre-B cells. Immunoprecipitation of immunoglobulin mu-chain from these pre-B cells with anti-immunoglobulin mu antibody coprecipitates a 22-kDa protein, which is a candidate for the human immunoglobulin omega light-chain protein and may be the protein product of the 14.1/16.1 genes.

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