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Eur J Immunol. 1995 Aug;25(8):2154-62.

Subtle differences in antibody responses and hypermutation of lambda light chains in mice with a disrupted chi constant region.

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Department of Development and Signalling, Babraham Institute, Cambridge, GB.


Analysis of lambda light chain use in normal mice is made difficult by the dominant chi light chain repertoire. We produced mice rendered deficient in chi light chain expression by gene targeting and focused on questions concerned with the generation of lambda light chain diversity. Whilst these mice compensate the chi deficiency with increased lambda liters, and their Ig level is therefore not significantly reduced, they show major differences in immunization titers, germinal center (GC) development and somatic hypermutation. After immunization, using antigens that elicit a restricted IgL response in normal mice, we obtained in the chi-/- mice elevated primary antibody titers but a subsequent lack in titer increase after repeated antigen challenge. Analysis of the Peyer's patches (PP) revealed a dramatically reduced cell content with rather small but highly active GC. Flow cytometric analysis showed different cell populations in the PP with enriched peanut agglutinin (PNA)hi/CD45R(B220)+ B cells, implying that the apparent compensation for the lack of lambda light chain expression involves the GC microenvironment in cell selection, the initiation of hypermutation and high affinity expansion. The three V lambda genes, V1, V2 and Vx, are mutated in the GC B cells, but show no junctional diversity. In contrast, a reduced rate of V lambda hypermutation is found in the hybridoma antibodies, which appears to reflect a selection bias rather than structural constraints. However, mechanisms of somatic mutation and specificity selection can operate with equal efficiency on the few V lambda genes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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