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EMBO J. 1984 Mar;3(3):677-81.

Immunoglobulin gene expression and DNA methylation in murine pre-B cell lines.


DNA modification accompanying immunoglobulin gene expression was examined in various Abelson murine leukemia virus (A-MuLV)-transformed cell lines, which were able to differentiate from the mu- to mu+ stage or to undergo an isotype switch during in vitro culture. The C mu genes were relatively demethylated in the A-MuLV-transformed cell lines examined irrespective of whether or not the C mu genes were expressed. Normal IgM-bearing B cells, as well as a T cell line, also showed a similar DNA methylation pattern and the C mu genes were relatively demethylated. In one of the mu+ clones, however, the expressed C mu gene was heavily methylated. The DNA methylation pattern did not change and remained hypermethylated before and after gamma 2b expression in the two cell lines which underwent class switch to gamma 2b during in vitro culture, suggesting that expression of the gamma 2b gene was not accompanied by demethylation of the C gamma 2b gene. Taken together, these results indicate that DNA demethylation within and around the CH gene may not be necessary for its expression.

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