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Similarities between Initiation of V(D)J Recombination and Retroviral Integration

Dik C. van Gent, Kiyoshi Mizuuchi and Martin Gellert
Science
New Series, Vol. 271, No. 5255 (Mar. 15, 1996), pp. 1592-1594
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2890730
Page Count: 3
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Similarities between Initiation of V(D)J Recombination and Retroviral Integration
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Abstract

In the first step of V(D)J recombination, the RAG1 and RAG2 proteins cleave DNA between a signal sequence and the adjacent coding sequence, generating a blunt signal end and a coding end with a closed hairpin structure. These hairpins are intermediates leading to the formation of assembled antigen receptor genes. It is shown here that the hairpins are formed by a chemical mechanism of direct trans-esterification, very similar to the early steps of transpositional recombination and retroviral integration. A minor variation in the reaction is sufficient to divert the process from transposition to hairpin formation.

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