ArticlesStructures of the Genes That Rearrange in Development

Mouse immunoglobulin D: messenger RNA and genomic DNA sequences

Science  19 Sep 1980:
Vol. 209, Issue 4463, pp. 1353-1360
DOI: 10.1126/science.6968091


The molecular structure of a mouse immunoglobulin D from a plasmacytoma tumor and that of the normal mouse gene coding for immunoglobulin D are presented. The DNA sequence results indicate an unusual structure for the tumor delta chain in two respects: (i) Only two constant (C) region domains, termed C delta 1 and C delta 3 by homology considerations, are found; the two domains are separated by an unusual hinge region C delta H that lacks cysteine residues and thus cannot provide the covalent cross-links between heavy chains typically seen in immunoglobulins. The two domains and hinge are all coded on separate exons. (ii) At the carboxyl end of the delta chain there is a stretch of 26 amino acids that is coded from an exon located 2750 to 4600 base pairs downstream from the rest of the gene. Analogy with immunoglobulin M suggests that this distally coded segment C delta DC may have a membrane-binding function; however, it is only moderately hydrophobic. A fifth potential exon (C delta AC), located adjacent to the 3' (carboxyl) end of C delta 3, could code for a stretch of 49 amino acids. The tumor's expression of the delta gene may be aberrant, but the simplest interpretation would be that this tumor expresses one of the several biologically significant forms of the delta chain.