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Eur J Immunol. 1996 Apr;26(4):886-91.

Regions of RAG1 protein critical for V(D)J recombination.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA.


The products of the recombination activating genes RAG1 and RAG2 are essential for activating V(D)J recombination, and thus are indispensable for the production of functional and diverse antigen receptors. To investigate the function of RAG1, we have tested a series of insertion and substitution mutation for their ability to induce V(D)J rearrangement on both deletional and inversional plasmid substrates. With these substrates we were also able to assess the effects of these mutations on both coding and signal joint formation, and to show that any one mutant affected all these reactions similarly. As defined previously, the core active regions of RAG1 and RAG2 permit the deletion of 40% and 25%, respectively, of well-conversed sequence. We show here that this "dispensable" region of RAG1 is not necessary for coding joint formation or recombination of an integrated substrate, and this portion is not functionally redundant with the "dispensable" region of RAG2. Recombination with these core regions is also still subject to the 12/23 joining rule. Further, the minimal essential core region of RAG1 can be located within an even smaller portion of the gene.

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