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EMBO J. 1997 Jul 1;16(13):3987-94.

Cells strongly expressing Ig(kappa) transgenes show clonal recruitment of hypermutation: a role for both MAR and the enhancers.

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


The V regions of immunoglobulin kappa transgenes are targets for hypermutation in germinal centre B cells. We show by use of modified transgenes that the recruitment of hypermutation is substantially impaired by deletion of the nuclear matrix attachment region (MAR) which flanks the intron-enhancer (Ei). Decreased mutation is also obtained if Ei, the core region of the kappa3'-enhancer (E3') or the E3'-flank are removed individually. A broad correlation between expression and mutation is indicated not only by the fact that the deletions affecting mutation also give reduced transgene expression, but especially by the finding that, within a single mouse, transgene mutation was considerably reduced in germinal centre B cells that poorly expressed the transgene as compared with strongly expressing cells. We also observed that the diminished mutation in transgenes carrying regulatory element deletions was manifested by an increased proportion of B cells in which the transgene had not been targeted at all for mutation rather than in the extent of mutation accumulation once targeted. Since mutations appear to be incorporated stepwise, the results point to a connection between transcription initiation and the clonal recruitment of hypermutation, with hypermutation being more fastidious than transcription in requiring the presence of a full complement of regulatory elements.

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