Similarities Between Initiation of V(D)J Recombination and Retroviral Integration

Science  15 Mar 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5255, pp. 1592-1594
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5255.1592


In the first step of V(D)J recombination, the RAG1 and RAG2 proteins cleave DNA between a signal sequence and the adjacent coding sequence, generating a blunt signal end and a coding end with a closed hairpin structure. These hairpins are intermediates leading to the formation of assembled antigen receptor genes. It is shown here that the hairpins are formed by a chemical mechanism of direct trans-esterification, very similar to the early steps of transpositional recombination and retroviral integration. A minor variation in the reaction is sufficient to divert the process from transposition to hairpin formation.

Cited By...