Antibody Class Switching Mediated by Yeast Endonuclease-Generated DNA Breaks

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Science  19 Jan 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5810, pp. 377-381
DOI: 10.1126/science.1136386

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Antibody class switching in activated B cells uses class switch recombination (CSR), which joins activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID)–dependent double-strand breaks (DSBs) within two large immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) locus switch (S) regions that lie up to 200 kilobases apart. To test postulated roles of S regions and AID in CSR, we generated mutant B cells in which donor Sμ and accepter Sγ1 regions were replaced with yeast I-SceI endonuclease sites. We found that site-specific I-SceI DSBs mediate recombinational IgH locus class switching from IgM to IgG1 without S regions or AID. We propose that CSR evolved to exploit a general DNA repair process that promotes joining of widely separated DSBs within a chromosome.

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