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Nucleic Acids Res. 1993 Nov 11;21(22):5067-73.

Molecular cloning of a zinc finger protein which binds to the heptamer of the signal sequence for V(D)J recombination.

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Medical Research Council, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK.


The somatic V(D)J recombination for the assembly of the Ig and TCR genes is mediated by the recombination signal sequences (Rss) and the V(D)J recombinase. A cDNA clone was isolated from a lambda gt11 expression library made from mouse thymocyte poly(A)+ RNA, using the Rss as a ligand. The deduced amino acid sequence of the putative protein, designated Recognition component (Rc), reveals a pair of Cys2-His2 zinc fingers followed by a Glu- and Asp-rich acidic domain. In addition, there are five copies of the Ser/Thr-Pro-X-Arg/Lys sequence, which are putative DNA binding units. The zinc finger-acidic domain structures present in Rc are also found in several enhancer binding proteins, such as those for the kappa B motif of the Ig kappa light chain enhancer or related sequences. Bacterial fusion proteins for Rc bind preferentially to the Rss heptamer and to the kappa B motif. The dual affinities of Rc for the Rss heptamer and the kappa B motif suggest a possible link between Ig transcription and somatic recombination. The formation of multiple 'gel-shifted' DNA-protein complexes for Rc and its DNA ligand suggests that these complexes tend to multimerize.

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