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EMBO J. 1993 Mar;12(3):811-20.

Gene targeting in the Ig kappa locus: efficient generation of lambda chain-expressing B cells, independent of gene rearrangements in Ig kappa.

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Institute for Genetics, University of Köln, Germany.


The production of lambda chain-expressing B cells was studied in mice in which either the gene encoding the constant region of the kappa chain (C kappa) or the intron enhancer in the Ig kappa locus was inactivated by insertion of a neomycin resistance gene. The two mutants have similar phenotypes: in heterozygous mutant mice the fraction of lambda chain-bearing B cells is twice that in the wildtype. Homozygous mutants produce approximately 7 times more lambda-expressing B cells (and about 2.3 times fewer total B cells) in the bone marrow than their normal counterparts, suggesting that B cell progenitors can differentiate into either kappa- or lambda-producing cells and do the latter in the mutants. Whereas gene rearrangements in the Ig kappa locus are blocked in the case of enhancer inactivation, they still occur in that of the C kappa mutant, although in this mutant RS rearrangement is lower than in the wildtype. This indicates that gene rearrangements in the Ig lambda locus can occur in the absence of a putative positive signal resulting from gene rearrangements in Ig kappa, including RS recombination. Complementing these results, we also present data indicating that in normal B cell development kappa chain rearrangement can be preceded by lambda chain rearrangement and that the frequency of kappa/lambda double producers is small and insufficient to explain the massive production of lambda chain-expressing B cells in the mutants.

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