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Assembly of immunoglobulin and T cell receptor genes from separate gene segments [V(D)J recombination] begins with DNA double-strand breakage by the RAG1 and RAG2 proteins, acting at a pair of recombination signal sequences (RSSs). Here, the RAG proteins are shown to reverse the cleavage reaction by joining an RSS to a broken coding sequence end. These “hybrid joints” have also been found in lymphoid cells, even when the normal pathway of DNA double-strand break repair is inactive, and can now be explained by this activity of the RAG proteins.
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