Molecular Medicine

, Volume 11, Issue 1–12, pp 52–58 | Cite as

Analysis of Expressed and Non-Expressed IGK Locus Rearrangements in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

  • Chrysoula Belessi
  • Kostas Stamatopoulos
  • Anastasia Hadzidimitriou
  • Katerina Hatzi
  • Tatjana Smilevska
  • Niki Stavroyianni
  • Fotini Marantidou
  • George Paterakis
  • Athanasios Fassas
  • Achilles Anagnostopoulos
  • Nikolaos Laoutaris


Immunoglobulin κ (IGK) locus rearrangements were analyzed in parallel on cDNA/genomic DNA in 188 κ- and 103 λ-chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cases. IGKV-KDE and IGKJ-C-intron-KDE rearrangements were also analyzed on genomic DNA. In κ-CLL, only 3 of 188 cases carried double in-frame IGKV-J transcripts: in such cases, the possibility that leukemic cells expressed more than one k chain cannot be excluded. Twenty-eight κ-CLL cases also carried nonexpressed (nontranscribed and/or out-of-frame) IGKV-J rearrangements. Taking IGKV-J, IGKV-KDE, and IGKJ-C-intron-KDE rearrangements together, 38% of κ-CLL cases carried biallelic IGK locus rearrangements. In λ-CLL, 69 IGKV-J rearrangements were detected in 64 of 103 cases (62%); 24 rearrangements (38.2%) were in-frame. Four cases carried in-frame IGKV-J transcripts but retained monotypic light-chain expression, suggesting posttranscriptional regulation of allelic exclusion. In all, taking IGKV-J, IGKV-KDE, and IGKJ-C-intron-KDE rearrangements together, 97% of λ-CLL cases had at least 1 rearranged IGK allele, in keeping with normal cells. IG repertoire comparisons in κ- versus λ-CLL revealed that CLL precursor cells tried many rearrangements on the same IGK allele before they became λ producers. Thirteen of 28 and 26 of 69 non-expressed sequences in, respectively, κ- or λ-CLL had < 100% homology to germline. This finding might be considered as evidence for secondary rearrangements occurring after the onset of somatic hypermutation, at least in some cases. The inactivation of potentially functional IGKV-J joints by secondary rearrangements indicates active receptor editing in CLL and provides further evidence for the role of antigen in CLL immunopathogenesis.



We wish to thank Prof. Marie-Paule Lefranc and Dr. Veronique Giudicelli (Laboratoire d’Immunogenetique Moleculaire, LIGM, Université Montpellier II, UPR CNRS) for their support and generosity to share with us their insight on immunoglobulin gene analysis; Dr. Paolo Ghia, Department of Oncology, Università Vita Salute-San Raffaele, Milano, Italy, and Dr. Fred Davi, Laboratory of Hematology and University Paris 6, Hôpital Pitié-Salpètrière, Paris, France, for many stimulating talks and helpful comments; and Dr. Anton Langerak, Department of Immunology Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands, for critically reading the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Feinstein Institute for Medical Research 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chrysoula Belessi
    • 1
  • Kostas Stamatopoulos
    • 2
  • Anastasia Hadzidimitriou
    • 2
  • Katerina Hatzi
    • 2
  • Tatjana Smilevska
    • 3
  • Niki Stavroyianni
    • 2
  • Fotini Marantidou
    • 1
  • George Paterakis
    • 3
  • Athanasios Fassas
    • 2
  • Achilles Anagnostopoulos
    • 2
  • Nikolaos Laoutaris
    • 1
  1. 1.Hematology DepartmentNikea General HospitalPiraeusGreece
  2. 2.Hematology Department and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation UnitG. Papanicolaou HospitalThessalonikiGreece
  3. 3.Immunology DepartmentG. Gennimatas HospitalAthensGreece

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