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Chromosomal Organization of the Heavy Chain Variable Region Gene Segments Comprising the Human Fetal Antibody Repertoire
Ko Willems Van Dijk, Laurie A. Milner, Eric H. Sasso and Eric C. B. Milner
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 89, No. 21 (Nov. 1, 1992), pp. 10430-10434
Published by: National Academy of Sciences
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2360623
Page Count: 5
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The adult repertoire of antibody specificities is acquired in a developmentally programed fashion that, in mouse and man, parallels the ordered rearrangement of a limited number of germ-line heavy chain variable region (VH) gene segments during development. It has been hypothesized that this developmental bias is a consequence of gene organization. In the mouse, rearrangement of VH gene segments proximal to the heavy chain joining region (JH) locus precedes rearrangement of genes located more distal to the JH locus. Similarly, in man, two VH elements located proximal to JH are expressed during fetal development. To test further this hypothesis in man, we have determined in a single individual the positions of an additional eight distinct VH elements known to comprise a significant fraction of the human developmental repertoire. These developmentally expressed VH elements were found to be dispersed over a region of 890 kilobases of the VH locus and were interspersed with other VH elements that are not known to be developmentally expressed. Thus, the ordered developmental expression of VH gene segments in man must involve mechanisms beyond physical proximity to the JH locus. Further, these results support the notion that fetal expression of VH gene segments is a regulated process and suggest that this regulation is important in the acquisition of immunocompetence.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America © 1992 National Academy of Sciences