Control of Immunoglobulin Heavy Chain Constant Region Gene Expression

  • Suzanne C. Li
  • Paul Rothman
  • Mark Boothby
  • Pierre Ferrier
  • Laurie Glimcher
  • Frederick W. Alt
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 292)


The N-terminus of immunoglobulin (Ig) heavy (H) and light chains is highly variable and determines antigen-binding specificity. The C-terminus of H chains has a constant amino acid sequence that is responsible for determining effector activities such as the localization of the immunoglobulin molecule and the type of secondary pathways activated. The variable region of Ig genes is encoded by multiple germline elements that are assembled into complete V(D)J variable region genes during precursor (pre)-B cell differentiation. Both Ig H and L chain variable region gene segments, as well as related gene segments that encode T cell receptor (TCR) variable regions, have been shown to be assembled by a common enzymatic ctivity referred to as VDJ recombinase. The ability of a single VDJ recombinase to assemble particular gene segments in appropriate cell types and stages within lymphoid lineages is proposed to be effected by modulating the accessibility of substrate gene segments to the common VDJ recombinase. This accessibility has been correlated with transcription of target unrear-ranged gene segments,1 both with respect to endogenous genes as well as in transfected recombination substrates.2,3


Germ Line Gene Segment Variable Region Gene Recombination Substrate Germline Transcript 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne C. Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paul Rothman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mark Boothby
    • 3
  • Pierre Ferrier
    • 1
  • Laurie Glimcher
    • 3
  • Frederick W. Alt
    • 1
  1. 1.The Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Departments of Biochemistry and MicrobiologyCollege of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia UniversityNew York CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineCollege of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia UniversityNew York CityUSA
  3. 3.Department of Cancer Biology, Harvard School of Public Health, and Department of MedicineHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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