The Journal of experimental medicine

Critical roles of the immunoglobulin intronic enhancers in maintaining the sequential rearrangement of IgH and Igk loci.

PMID 16785310


V(D)J recombination of immunoglobulin (Ig) heavy (IgH) and light chain genes occurs sequentially in the pro- and pre-B cells. To identify cis-elements that dictate this order of rearrangement, we replaced the endogenous matrix attachment region/Igk intronic enhancer (MiE(kappa)) with its heavy chain counterpart (Emu) in mice. This replacement, denoted EmuR, substantially increases the accessibility of both V(kappa) and J(kappa) loci to V(D)J recombinase in pro-B cells and induces Igk rearrangement in these cells. However, EmuR does not support Igk rearrangement in pre-B cells. Similar to that in MiE(kappa)(-/-) pre-B cells, the accessibility of V(kappa) segments to V(D)J recombinase is considerably reduced in EmuR pre-B cells when compared with wild-type pre-B cells. Therefore, Emu and MiE(kappa) play developmental stage-specific roles in maintaining the sequential rearrangement of IgH and Igk loci by promoting the accessibility of V, D, and J loci to the V(D)J recombinase.