Independent recruitment of Igh alleles in V(D)J recombination.
ABSTRACT: How the vast majority of B cells express only one of the two alleles at their immunoglobulin loci remains a biological puzzle. Here, in mice reconstituted with a single haematopoietic stem cell, we demonstrate that each of the two immunoglobulin heavy chain (Igh) alleles has a similar probability to be the first to undergo V(H) to DJ(H) rearrangement. We also observe this similar probability in clones from multipotent and common lymphoid precursors. The extreme biases in the expression of the alleles that we find in more differentiated subsets are mostly due to constraints imposed by early rearrangements. Our data demonstrate that each of the two Igh alleles in a B cell behaves independently of the other, up to the moment when a successful rearrangement in one allele triggers a feedback mechanism that prevents further recombination.
Project description:Ig and T-cell receptor (TCR) variable-region gene exons are assembled from component variable (V), diversity (D) and joining (J) gene segments during early B and T cell development. The RAG1/2 endonuclease initiates V(D)J recombination by introducing DNA double-strand breaks at borders of the germ-line segments. In mice, the Ig heavy-chain (IgH) locus contains, from 5' to 3', several hundred V(H) gene segments, 13 D segments, and 4 J(H) segments within a several megabase region. In developing B cells, IgH variable-region exon assembly is ordered with D to J(H) rearrangement occurring on both alleles before appendage of a V(H) segment. Also, IgH V(H) to DJ(H) rearrangement does not occur in T cells, even though DJ(H) rearrangements occur at low levels. In these contexts, V(D)J recombination is controlled by modulating substrate gene segment accessibility to RAG1/2 activity. To elucidate control elements, we deleted the 100-kb intergenic region that separates the V(H) and D clusters (generating ?V(H)-D alleles). In both B and T cells, ?V(H)-D alleles initiated high-level antisense and, at lower levels, sense transcription from within the downstream D cluster, with antisense transcripts extending into proximal V(H) segments. In developing T lymphocytes, activated germ-line antisense transcription was accompanied by markedly increased IgH D-to-J(H) rearrangement and substantial V(H) to DJ(H) rearrangement of proximal IgH V(H) segments. Thus, the V(H)-D intergenic region, and likely elements within it, can influence silencing of sense and antisense germ-line transcription from the IgH D cluster and thereby influence targeting of V(D)J recombination.
Project description:Coordination of V rearrangements between loci on homologous chromosomes is critical for Ig and TCR allelic exclusion. The Ataxia Telangietasia mutated (ATM) protein kinase promotes DNA repair and activates checkpoints to suppress aberrant Ig and TCR rearrangements. In response to RAG cleavage of Ig? loci, ATM inhibits RAG expression and suppresses further V?-to-J? rearrangements to enforce Ig? allelic exclusion. Because V recombination between alleles is more strictly regulated for TCR? and IgH loci, we evaluated the ability of ATM to restrict biallelic expression and V-to-DJ recombination of TCR? and IgH genes. We detected greater frequencies of lymphocytes with biallelic expression or aberrant V-to-DJ rearrangement of TCR? or IgH loci in mice lacking ATM. A preassembled DJ? complex that decreases the number of TCR? rearrangements needed for a productive TCR? gene further increased frequencies of ATM-deficient cells with biallelic TCR? expression. IgH and TCR? proteins drive proliferation of prolymphocytes through cyclin D3 (Ccnd3), which also inhibits VH transcription. We show that inactivation of Ccnd3 leads to increased frequencies of lymphocytes with biallelic expression of IgH or TCR? genes. We also show that Ccnd3 inactivation cooperates with ATM deficiency to increase the frequencies of cells with biallelic TCR? or IgH expression while decreasing the frequency of ATM-deficient lymphocytes with aberrant V-to-DJ recombination. Our data demonstrate that core components of the DNA damage response and cell cycle machinery cooperate to help enforce IgH and TCR? allelic exclusion and indicate that control of V-to-DJ rearrangements between alleles is important to maintain genomic stability.
Project description:Immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) alleles have ambivalent relationships: they feature both allelic exclusion, ensuring monoallelic expression of a single immunoglobulin (Ig) allele, and frequent inter-allelic class-switch recombination (CSR) reassembling genes from both alleles. The IgH locus 3' regulatory region (3'RR) includes several transcriptional cis-enhancers promoting activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID)-dependent somatic hypermutation (SHM) and CSR, and altogether behaves as a strong super-enhancer. It can also promote deregulated expression of translocated oncogenes during lymphomagenesis. Besides these rare, illegitimate and pathogenic interactions, we now show that under physiological conditions, the 3'RR super-enhancer supports not only legitimate cis- , but also trans-recruitment of AID, contributing to IgH inter-allelic proximity and enabling the super-enhancer on one allele to stimulate biallelic SHM and CSR. Such inter-allelic activating interactions define transvection, a phenomenon well-known in drosophila but rarely observed in mammalian cells, now appearing as a unique feature of the IgH 3'RR super-enhancer.
Project description:Genes encoding immunoglobulin heavy chains (Igh) are assembled by rearrangement of variable (V(H)), diversity (D(H)) and joining (J(H)) gene segments. Three critical constraints govern V(H) recombination. These include timing (V(H) recombination follows D(H) recombination), precision (V(H) gene segments recombine only to DJ(H) junctions) and allele specificity (V(H) recombination is restricted to DJ(H)-recombined alleles). Here we provide a model for these universal features of V(H) recombination. Analyses of DJ(H)-recombined alleles showed that DJ(H) junctions were selectively epigenetically marked, became nuclease sensitive and bound RAG recombinase proteins, which thereby permitted D(H)-associated recombination signal sequences to initiate the second step of Igh gene assembly. We propose that V(H) recombination is precise, because these changes did not extend to germline D(H) segments located 5' of the DJ(H) junction.
Project description:Variable-(diversity)-joining (V(D)J) recombination at loci encoding the immunoglobulin heavy chain (Igh) and immunoglobulin light chain (Igk) takes place sequentially during successive stages in B cell development. Using three-dimensional DNA fluorescence in situ hybridization, here we identify a lineage-specific and stage-specific interchromosomal association between these two loci that marks the transition between Igh and Igk recombination. Colocalization occurred between pericentromerically located alleles in pre-B cells and was mediated by the 3' Igk enhancer. Deletion of this regulatory element prevented association of the Igh and Igk loci, inhibited pericentromeric recruitment and locus 'decontraction' of an Igh allele, and resulted in greater distal rearrangement of the gene encoding the variable heavy-chain region. Our data indicate involvement of the Igk locus and its 3' enhancer in directing the Igh locus to a repressive nuclear subcompartment and inducing the Igh locus to decontract.
Project description:Burkitt lymphoma (BL), the most common pediatric cancer in sub-Saharan Africa, is a malignancy of antigen-experienced B lymphocytes. High-throughput sequencing (HTS) of the immunoglobulin heavy (IGH) and light chain (IGK/IGL) loci was performed on genomic DNA from 51 primary BL tumors: 19 from Uganda and 32 from Ghana. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis and tumor RNA sequencing (RNAseq) was performed on the Ugandan tumors to confirm and extend the findings from the HTS of tumor DNA. Clonal IGH and IGK/IGL rearrangements were identified in 41 and 46 tumors, respectively. Evidence for rearrangement of the second IGH allele was observed in only 6 of 41 tumor samples with a clonal IGH rearrangement, suggesting that the normal process of biallelic IGHD to IGHJ diversity-joining (DJ) rearrangement is often disrupted in BL progenitor cells. Most tumors, including those with a sole dominant, nonexpressed DJ rearrangement, contained many IGH and IGK/IGL sequences that differed from the dominant rearrangement by < 10 nucleotides, suggesting that the target of ongoing mutagenesis of these loci in BL tumor cells is not limited to expressed alleles. IGHV usage in both BL tumor cohorts revealed enrichment for IGHV genes that are infrequently used in memory B cells from healthy subjects. Analysis of publicly available DNA sequencing and RNAseq data revealed that these same IGHV genes were overrepresented in dominant tumor-associated IGH rearrangements in several independent BL tumor cohorts. These data suggest that BL derives from an abnormal B-cell progenitor and that aberrant mutational processes are active on the immunoglobulin loci in BL cells.
Project description:The process of allelic exclusion ensures that each B cell expresses a B-cell receptor encoded by only one of its Ig heavy (IgH) and light (IgL) chain alleles. Although its precise mechanism is unknown, recruitment of the nonfunctional IgH allele to centromeric heterochromatin correlates with the establishment of allelic exclusion. Similarly, recruitment in activated splenic B cells correlates with cell division. In the latter, the recruited IgH allele was reported to be transcriptionally silent. However, it is not known whether monoallelic recruitment during establishment of allelic exclusion correlates with transcriptional silencing. To investigate this, we assessed the transcriptional status of both IgH alleles in single primary cells over the course of B-cell development, using RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization. Before allelic exclusion both alleles are transcribed. Thereafter, in pre-BII and subsequent developmental stages both functional and nonfunctional VDJ- and DJ-transcription is observed. Thus, after the establishment of IgH allelic exclusion, monoallelic recruitment to heterochromatin does not silence VDJ- or DJ-transcription, but serves another purpose.
Project description:Immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) genes are assembled by two sequential DNA rearrangement events that are initiated by recombination activating gene products (RAG) 1 and 2. Diversity (DH) gene segments rearrange first, followed by variable (VH) gene rearrangements. Here, we provide evidence that each rearrangement step is guided by different rules of engagement between rearranging gene segments. DH gene segments, which recombine by deletion of intervening DNA, must be located within a RAG1/2 scanning domain for efficient recombination. In the absence of intergenic control region 1, a regulatory sequence that delineates the RAG scanning domain on wild-type IgH alleles, VH and DH gene segments can recombine with each other by both deletion and inversion of intervening DNA. We propose that VH gene segments find their targets by distinct mechanisms from those that apply to DH gene segments. These distinctions may underlie differential allelic choice associated with each step of IgH gene assembly.
Project description:Noncoding sense and antisense germ-line transcription within the Ig heavy chain locus precedes V(D)J recombination and has been proposed to be associated with Igh locus accessibility, although its precise role remains elusive. However, no global analysis of germ-line transcription throughout the Igh locus has been done. Therefore, we performed directional RNA-seq, demonstrating the locations and extent of both sense and antisense transcription throughout the Igh locus. Surprisingly, the majority of antisense transcripts are localized around two Pax5-activated intergenic repeat (PAIR) elements in the distal IghV region. Importantly, long-distance loops measured by chromosome conformation capture (3C) are observed between these two active PAIR promoters and E?, the start site of I? germ-line transcription, in a lineage- and stage-specific manner, even though this antisense transcription is E?-independent. YY1(-/-) pro-B cells are greatly impaired in distal V(H) gene rearrangement and Igh locus compaction, and we demonstrate that YY1 deficiency greatly reduces antisense transcription and PAIR-E? interactions. ChIP-seq shows high level YY1 binding only at E?, but low levels near some antisense promoters. PAIR-E? interactions are not disrupted by DRB, which blocks transcription elongation without disrupting transcription factories once they are established, but the looping is reduced after heat-shock treatment, which disrupts transcription factories. We propose that transcription-mediated interactions, most likely at transcription factories, initially compact the Igh locus, bringing distal V(H) genes close to the DJ(H) rearrangement which is adjacent to E?. Therefore, we hypothesize that one key role of noncoding germ-line transcription is to facilitate locus compaction, allowing distal V(H) genes to undergo efficient rearrangement.
Project description:Immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) variable region exons are assembled from V(H), D and J(H) gene segments in developing B lymphocytes. Within the 2.7-megabase mouse Igh locus, V(D)J recombination is regulated to ensure specific and diverse antibody repertoires. Here we report in mice a key Igh V(D)J recombination regulatory region, termed intergenic control region 1 (IGCR1), which lies between the V(H) and D clusters. Functionally, IGCR1 uses CTCF looping/insulator factor-binding elements and, correspondingly, mediates Igh loops containing distant enhancers. IGCR1 promotes normal B-cell development and balances antibody repertoires by inhibiting transcription and rearrangement of D(H)-proximal V(H) gene segments and promoting rearrangement of distal V(H) segments. IGCR1 maintains ordered and lineage-specific V(H)(D)J(H) recombination by suppressing V(H) joining to D segments not joined to J(H) segments, and V(H) to DJ(H) joins in thymocytes, respectively. IGCR1 is also required for feedback regulation and allelic exclusion of proximal V(H)-to-DJ(H) recombination. Our studies elucidate a long-sought Igh V(D)J recombination control region and indicate a new role for the generally expressed CTCF protein.