, Volume 73, Issue 1, pp 47-53

Immunoglobulin variable region structure and B-Cell malignancies

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Abstract

The enormous diversity of immunoglobulin (Ig) variable (V) gene sequences encoding the antibody repertoire are formed by the somatic recombination of relatively few genetic elements. In B-lineage malignancies, Ig gene rearrangements have been widely used for determining clonality and cell origin. The recent development of rapid cloning and sequencing techniques has resulted in a substantial accumulation of IgV region sequences at various stages of B-cell development and has revealed stage-specific trends in the use of V, diversity, joining genes, the degree of noncoding nucleotide addition, and the rate of somatic mutations. Furthermore, sequences from B-lineage malignant cells nearly reflect the characteristics of the normal counterpart at each respective stage of development. Alternatively, from the IgV region structure of the malignant cells, it is possible to speculate at which stage of B-cell development the cells were transformed. As the complete nucleotide sequences of the human Ig heavy and Ig light V region loci have now been determined, the study of Ig genetics has entered into the super-information era.