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Int Immunol. 1994 Sep;6(9):1437-43.

Bias in somatic hypermutation of human VH genes.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, NY 14642.


Translationally silent mutations, which are not antigen selected, of human VH6 Ig gene rearrangements isolated from human spleen were analyzed for bias to gain insight into intrinsic features of the mutation process. Sixty-three clones representing 38 VH6DJ rearrangements had an overall mutation frequency of 4.5%, a replacement/silent (R/S) mutation ratio of 2.1 and 167 unique silent mutations. The silent mutations showed bias in: (i) targeting to CDR1 and CDR2, (ii) an increased frequency of mutations of A compared to T nucleotide bases on the coding strand, and (iii) an increased frequency of transitions versus transversions. Bias of C-->G over C-->A, of G-->C over G-->T and of A-->C over A-->T transversions was also present. Hot spots of mutation were observed, some which corresponded to potential sites of stem-loop formation. The results suggest that the somatic mutation process in man may be targeted to the complementarity determining region for some V genes, exhibits specific base substitutions favoring transitions and specific types of transversions, and may be occurring on only one DNA strand.

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