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      Impact of DNA ligase IV on nonhomologous end joining pathways during class switch recombination in human cells

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          Class switch recombination (CSR) is a region-specific, transcriptionally regulated, nonhomologous recombinational process that is initiated by activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID). The initial lesions in the switch (S) regions are subsequently processed and resolved, leading to recombination of the two targeted S regions. The mechanisms by which repair and ligation of the broken DNA ends occurs is still elusive. Recently, a small number of patients lacking DNA ligase IV, a critical component of the nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) machinery, have been identified. We show that these patients display a considerably increased donor/acceptor homology at Sμ–Sα junctions compared with healthy controls. In contrast, Sμ–Sγ junctions show an increased frequency of insertions but no increase in junctional homology. These altered patterns of junctional resolution may be related to differences in the homology between the Sμ and the downstream isotype S regions, and could reflect different modes of switch junction resolution when NHEJ is impaired. These findings link DNA ligase IV, and thus NHEJ, to CSR.

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          Most cited references 27

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          Design and standardization of PCR primers and protocols for detection of clonal immunoglobulin and T-cell receptor gene recombinations in suspect lymphoproliferations: report of the BIOMED-2 Concerted Action BMH4-CT98-3936.

          In a European BIOMED-2 collaborative study, multiplex PCR assays have successfully been developed and standardized for the detection of clonally rearranged immunoglobulin (Ig) and T-cell receptor (TCR) genes and the chromosome aberrations t(11;14) and t(14;18). This has resulted in 107 different primers in only 18 multiplex PCR tubes: three VH-JH, two DH-JH, two Ig kappa (IGK), one Ig lambda (IGL), three TCR beta (TCRB), two TCR gamma (TCRG), one TCR delta (TCRD), three BCL1-Ig heavy chain (IGH), and one BCL2-IGH. The PCR products of Ig/TCR genes can be analyzed for clonality assessment by heteroduplex analysis or GeneScanning. The detection rate of clonal rearrangements using the BIOMED-2 primer sets is unprecedentedly high. This is mainly based on the complementarity of the various BIOMED-2 tubes. In particular, combined application of IGH (VH-JH and DH-JH) and IGK tubes can detect virtually all clonal B-cell proliferations, even in B-cell malignancies with high levels of somatic mutations. The contribution of IGL gene rearrangements seems limited. Combined usage of the TCRB and TCRG tubes detects virtually all clonal T-cell populations, whereas the TCRD tube has added value in case of TCRgammadelta(+) T-cell proliferations. The BIOMED-2 multiplex tubes can now be used for diagnostic clonality studies as well as for the identification of PCR targets suitable for the detection of minimal residual disease.
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            Class switch recombination and hypermutation require activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), a potential RNA editing enzyme.

            Induced overexpression of AID in CH12F3-2 B lymphoma cells augmented class switching from IgM to IgA without cytokine stimulation. AID deficiency caused a complete defect in class switching and showed a hyper-IgM phenotype with enlarged germinal centers containing strongly activated B cells before or after immunization. AID-/- spleen cells stimulated in vitro with LPS and cytokines failed to undergo class switch recombination although they expressed germline transcripts. Immunization of AID-/- chimera with 4-hydroxy-3-nitrophenylacetyl (NP) chicken gamma-globulin induced neither accumulation of mutations in the NP-specific variable region gene nor class switching. These results suggest that AID may be involved in regulation or catalysis of the DNA modification step of both class switching and somatic hypermutation.
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              Mechanism and regulation of human non-homologous DNA end-joining.

              Non-homologous DNA end-joining (NHEJ)--the main pathway for repairing double-stranded DNA breaks--functions throughout the cell cycle to repair such lesions. Defects in NHEJ result in marked sensitivity to ionizing radiation and ablation of lymphocytes, which rely on NHEJ to complete the rearrangement of antigen-receptor genes. NHEJ is typically imprecise, a characteristic that is useful for immune diversification in lymphocytes, but which might also contribute to some of the genetic changes that underlie cancer and ageing.

                Author and article information

                J Exp Med
                The Journal of Experimental Medicine
                The Rockefeller University Press
                17 January 2005
                : 201
                : 2
                : 189-194
                [1 ]Clinical Immunology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, SE-14186 Stockholm, Sweden
                [2 ]Department of Medicine, University College London, London W1T 4NJ, England, UK
                [3 ]Department of Pathology, University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine, CA 90095
                [4 ]Department of Pediatric Immunology, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle NE4 6BE, England, UK
                Author notes

                CORRESPONDENCE Michael Ehrenstein: m.ehrenstein@ or Qiang Pan-Hammarström: Qiang.Pan-Hammarstrom@

                Copyright © 2005, The Rockefeller University Press
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