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EMBO J. 1988 Mar;7(3):727-38.

Content and organization of the human Ig VH locus: definition of three new VH families and linkage to the Ig CH locus.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York, NY 10032.


We present a detailed analysis of the content and organization of the human immunoglobulin VH locus. Human VH genes representing five distinct families were isolated, including novel members belonging to two out of three of the known VH gene families (VH1 and VH3) as well as members of three new families (VH4, VH5, and VH6). We report the nucleotide sequence of 21 novel human VH genes, many of which belong to the three new VH gene families. In addition, we provide a preliminary analysis of the organization of these gene segments over the full extent of the locus. We find that the five multi-segment families (VH1-5) have members interspersed over nearly the full 1500-2000 kb of the VH locus, and estimate that the entire heavy chain locus covers 2500 kb or less. Finally, we provide the first report of the physical linkage of the variable and constant loci of a human Ig gene family by demonstrating that the most proximal known human VH segments lie within 100 kb of the constant region locus.

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