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Characterization of excised DNA intermediates associated with V(D)J recombination at the T-cell receptor delta locus.

By P B Nakajima and M J Bosma


Lymphocyte development requires the assembly of antigen receptor genes through the specialized process of V(D)J recombination. This process is initiated by cleavage at the junction between coding segments (V, D, and J) and the recombination signal sequences that border these segments, resulting in generation of double-strand break intermediates. We have used a two-dimensional gel system to characterize broken molecules arising from V(D)J recombination at the T-cell receptor (TCR) delta locus and have identified linear species excised by Ddelta1-Ddelta2 and V-Ddelta2 rearrangement in thymus DNA. Relatively few (approximately 10) V-Ddelta2-excised linear species were detected in DNA from fetal thymocytes. The sizes of these species corresponded to the estimated distances between Ddelta2 and the V gene segments utilized by gammadelta T cells and indicated that both Ddelta2-proximal and -distal V gene segments are targeted for V-Ddelta2 rearrangement. Similar-sized species were observed in DNA from thymocytes of scid mice in which T-cell development is arrested prior to TCR expression. Since previous studies suggest that the TCR alpha/delta locus encodes more than 100 V gene segments, our results indicate that a few select V gene segments are predominantly targeted for rearrangement to Ddelta2, and this primarily accounts for the restricted Vdelta gene repertoire of gammadelta T cells

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1997
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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