Polymorphism and Evolution of Igh-V Gene Families
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The immunoglobulin heavy chain locus (Igh) is located on chromosome 12 of the mouse. It is a complex locus, containing over one hundred variable region gene segments (Igh-V or Vh), approximately 12 diversity (Dh), 4 joining (Jh) and 8 constant region (Igh-C or Ch) gene segments. Although extensive diversity of antibody structures is generated in the assembly of active variable region genes by fusion of all combinations of V, D and J, it is apparent that there is as well a very high degree of genetic polymorphism at this locus. Examination of a panel of eighteen inbred strains selected to represent a variety of constant region allotypes (Igh-C alleles) revealed correlated allelism of the entire array of Vh and Dh gene segments (Brodeur and Riblet 1984; Brodeur et al. 1984). The extent of this genetic diversity parallels that of the MHC (Klein 1975) consistent with the parallel importance of this locus in protecting an individual from a variable environment. In this study we present further examination of the extent of this polymorphism and some aspects of the evolution of the locus.
KeywordsInbred Strain Gene Segment Recombinant Inbred Strain Wild Mouse Variable Region Gene
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