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Scand J Immunol. 1995 Jul;42(1):52-9.

The somatic hypermutation activity of a follicular lymphoma links to large insertions and deletions of immunoglobulin genes.

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Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, University of Helsinki, Finland.


A biopsy specimen from a patient with follicular lymphoma was divided into two fragments. DNA was extracted from one fragment and a 1.2 kb region of the functional heavy chain (IgH) gene was amplified, cloned and sequenced (eight clones). From the other fragment a cell line (HF-1) was started. The IgH gene region was amplified from the cell line, and sequenced without cloning. The nine sequences obtained could be arranged into a genealogical tree where the individual sequences differed from the deduced ancestor by 16-29 single nucleotide changes, some also by an insertion and/or a deletion. It is apparent that the sequence alterations were caused by somatic mutations during the growth of the lymphoma. The comparison of the sequences with two published (allelic) germline sequences of the human JH region showed approximately 20% non-homology. The differences included five additional multinucleotide insertion/deletion changes, the longest of them a 101-nucleotide insertion. Two long insertions were homologous to the adjacent germline sequences. We propose that most of the changes observed, including long deletions and insertions, represent or are linked to somatic hypermutation events of the Ig gene type. Although in a few cases large deletions and insertions (> 2 bp) have been found in mutated immunoglobulin genes, our results, for the first time, firmly link these deletions/insertions to somatic hypermutations; their frequency was found to be 2.2% of the observed mutational events in the non-translated gene regions. HF-1 is the first follicular lymphoma line successfully established from a lymphoma known to have hypermutated its Ig genes during the malignant growth. It is a candidate cell line to be studied for its ability to generate mutations of B cell type in cell cultures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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