Germline organization of the murine T cell receptor beta-chain genes

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  23 Oct 1987:
Vol. 238, Issue 4826, pp. 545-548
DOI: 10.1126/science.2821625


The complete germline organization of the beta-chain genes of the murine T cell receptor was elucidated in order to obtain the structural basis for understanding the mechanisms of somatic DNA rearrangements. Twenty of the 22 known variable (V beta) genes are clustered within 250 kilobases of DNA 5' to the constant region (C beta) genes. These V beta genes share the same transcriptional orientation as the diversity (D beta), joining (J beta), and C beta genes, which implies that chromosomal deletion is the mechanism for most V beta to D beta-J beta rearrangements. Within this V beta cluster, the distance between the most proximal V beta gene and the D beta-J beta-C beta cluster is 320 kilobases, as determined by field-inversion gel electrophoresis. The large distance between V beta and D beta, relative to that between D beta and J beta, may have significant implications for the ordered rearrangement of the T cell receptor beta-chain genes.