Epstein-Barr Virus Induced Differentiation of Early B-Lineage Cells
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During their differentiation, members of a clone of B-lineage cells undergo a series of irreversible gene rearrangements involving the immunoglobulin (Ig) gene loci. The rearrangement process, though itself error-prone, proceeds in a programmed, normally well-regulated fashion (reviewed in Tonegawa 1983; Alt et al. 1984). It occurs first at the heavy chain locus, then at a light chain locus and, if successful, ultimately generates an antigen-specific IgM molecule. Subsequently some members of the clone can switch heavy chain isotypes, again by a process involving DNA deletion and Ig gene rearrangement (reviewed in Honjo 1983; Burrows and Cooper 1984). Much of the information concerning these events came initially from studies in the mouse of transformed cell lines thought to represent the various stages of differentiation along the B-lineage. We have been using Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) to examine the genetic events occurring in the early precursors of human B cells. This technique has allowed us to rescue cells with unusual Ig gene and Ig protein phenotypes, and has provided new data concerning the expression of J chain as a function of B cell maturation.
KeywordsLight Chain Gene Rearrangement Chain Expression Light Chain Gene Chain Gene Rearrangement
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