Structural organization of the immunoglobulin heavy chain locus in the channel catfish: the IgH locus represents a composite of two gene clusters.

Molecular Immunology(2002)

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Two structurally-related genomic clusters of catfish immunoglobulin heavy chain gene segments are known. The first gene cluster contains DH and JH segments, as well as the C region exons encoding the functional Cμ. The second gene cluster contains multiple VH gene segments representing different VH families, a germline-joined VDJ, a single JH segment, and at least two pseudogene Cμ exons. It was not known whether these gene clusters were linked, nor was the organization or the location of VH segments associated within the first gene cluster known. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis studies have been used to determine the structural organization of these gene clusters. Restriction mapping studies show that the two gene clusters are closely linked; the second gene cluster is located upstream from the first with the Cμ regions within the clusters separated by about 725kb. The clusters are in the same relative transcriptional orientation, and the results indicate that the complete IgH locus spans no more than 1000kb and may be as small as 750–800kb. VH gene segments are located both upstream and downstream of the pseudo-Cμ exons; however, no VH gene segments that hybridized with the VH specific probes were detected downstream of the functional Cμ. These studies coupled with earlier sequence analyses indicate that the catfish IgH locus arose from a massive internal duplication event. Subsequent gene rearrangement within the duplicated cluster likely resulted in the presence of the germline VDJ and the deletion of intervening V, D and J segments. Transposition by a member of the Tc1/mariner family of transposable elements appears to have led to the disruption of the duplicated Cμ.
H, heavy chain of immunoglobulin,L, light chain of immunoglobulin,Mb, megabase,PFGE, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis
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