Altered 3D chromatin structure permits inversional recombination at the IgH locus.
ABSTRACT: 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:VH replacement refers to RAG-mediated secondary recombination of the IgH genes, which renews almost the entire VH gene coding region but retains a short stretch of nucleotides as a VH replacement footprint at the newly generated VH-DH junction. To explore the biological significance of VH replacement to the antibody repertoire, we developed a Java-based VH replacement footprint analyzer program and analyzed the distribution of VH replacement products in 61,851 human IgH gene sequences downloaded from the NCBI database. The initial assignment of the VH, DH, and JH gene segments provided a comprehensive view of the human IgH repertoire. To our interest, the overall frequency of VH replacement products is 12.1%; the frequencies of VH replacement products in IgH genes using different VH germline genes vary significantly. Importantly, the frequencies of VH replacement products are significantly elevated in IgH genes derived from different autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and allergic rhinitis, and in IgH genes encoding various autoantibodies or anti-viral antibodies. The identified VH replacement footprints preferentially encoded charged amino acids to elongate IgH CDR3 regions, which may contribute to their autoreactivities or anti-viral functions. Analyses of the mutation status of the identified VH replacement products suggested that they had been actively involved in immune responses. These results provide a global view of the distribution of VH replacement products in human IgH genes, especially in IgH genes derived from autoimmune diseases and anti-viral immune responses.
Project description:The RAG endonuclease initiates Igh V(D)J assembly in B cell progenitors by joining D segments to JH segments, before joining upstream VH segments to DJH intermediates1. In mouse progenitor B cells, the CTCF-binding element (CBE)-anchored chromatin loop domain2 at the 3' end of Igh contains an internal subdomain that spans the 5' CBE anchor (IGCR1)3, the DH segments, and a RAG-bound recombination centre (RC)4. The RC comprises the JH-proximal D segment (DQ52), four JH segments, and the intronic enhancer (iE?)5. Robust RAG-mediated cleavage is restricted to paired V(D)J segments flanked by complementary recombination signal sequences (12RSS and 23RSS)6. D segments are flanked downstream and upstream by 12RSSs that mediate deletional joining with convergently oriented JH-23RSSs and VH-23RSSs, respectively6. Despite 12/23 compatibility, inversional D-to-JH joining via upstream D-12RSSs is rare7,8. Plasmid-based assays have attributed the lack of inversional D-to-JH joining to sequence-based preference for downstream D-12RSSs9, as opposed to putative linear scanning mechanisms10,11. As RAG linearly scans convergent CBE-anchored chromatin loops4,12-14, potentially formed by cohesin-mediated loop extrusion15-18, we revisited its scanning role. Here we show that the chromosomal orientation of JH-23RSS programs RC-bound RAG to linearly scan upstream chromatin in the 3' Igh subdomain for convergently oriented D-12RSSs and, thereby, to mediate deletional joining of all D segments except RC-based DQ52, which joins by a diffusion-related mechanism. In a DQ52-based RC, formed in the absence of JH segments, RAG bound by the downstream DQ52-RSS scans the downstream constant region exon-containing 3' Igh subdomain, in which scanning can be impeded by targeted binding of nuclease-dead Cas9, by transcription through repetitive Igh switch sequences, and by the 3' Igh CBE-based loop anchor. Each scanning impediment focally increases RAG activity on potential substrate sequences within the impeded region. High-resolution mapping of chromatin interactions in the RC reveals that such focal RAG targeting is associated with corresponding impediments to the loop extrusion process that drives chromatin past RC-bound RAG.
Project description:VH replacement occurs through RAG-mediated secondary recombination between a rearranged VH gene and an upstream unrearranged VH gene. Due to the location of the cryptic recombination signal sequence (cRSS, TACTGTG) at the 3' end of VH gene coding region, a short stretch of nucleotides from the previous rearranged VH gene can be retained in the newly formed VH-DH junction as a "footprint" of VH replacement. Such footprints can be used as markers to identify Ig heavy chain (IgH) genes potentially generated through VH replacement. To explore the contribution of VH replacement products to the antibody repertoire, we developed a Java-based computer program, VH replacement footprint analyzer-I (VHRFA-I), to analyze published or newly obtained IgH genes from human or mouse. The VHRFA-1 program has multiple functional modules: it first uses service provided by the IMGT/V-QUEST program to assign potential VH, DH, and JH germline genes; then, it searches for VH replacement footprint motifs within the VH-DH junction (N1) regions of IgH gene sequences to identify potential VH replacement products; it can also analyze the frequencies of VH replacement products in correlation with publications, keywords, or VH, DH, and JH gene usages, and mutation status; it can further analyze the amino acid usages encoded by the identified VH replacement footprints. In summary, this program provides a useful computation tool for exploring the biological significance of VH replacement products in human and mouse.
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:A diverse Ab repertoire is formed through the rearrangement of V, D, and J segments at the IgH (Igh) loci. The C57BL/6 murine Igh locus has >100 functional VH gene segments that can recombine to a rearranged DJH. Although the nonrandom usage of VH genes is well documented, it is not clear what elements determine recombination frequency. To answer this question, we conducted deep sequencing of 5'-RACE products of the Igh repertoire in pro-B cells, amplified in an unbiased manner. Chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing results for several histone modifications and RNA polymerase II binding, RNA-sequencing for sense and antisense noncoding germline transcripts, and proximity to CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) and Rad21 sites were compared with the usage of individual V genes. Computational analyses assessed the relative importance of these various accessibility elements. These elements divide the Igh locus into four epigenetically and transcriptionally distinct domains, and our computational analyses reveal different regulatory mechanisms for each region. Proximal V genes are relatively devoid of active histone marks and noncoding RNA in general, but having a CTCF site near their recombination signal sequence is critical, suggesting that being positioned near the base of the chromatin loops is important for rearrangement. In contrast, distal V genes have higher levels of histone marks and noncoding RNA, which may compensate for their poorer recombination signal sequences and for being distant from CTCF sites. Thus, the Igh locus has evolved a complex system for the regulation of V(D)J rearrangement that is different for each of the four domains that comprise this locus.
Project description:A diverse antibody repertoire is formed through the rearrangement of V, D, and J segments at the immunoglobulin heavy chain (Igh) loci. The C57BL/6 murine Igh locus has over 100 functional VH gene segments that can recombine to a rearranged DJH. While the non-random usage of VH genes is well documented, it is not clear what elements determine recombination frequency. To answer this question we conducted deep sequencing of 5M-bM-^@M-^Y-RACE products of the Igh repertoire in pro-B cells, amplified in an unbiased manner. ChIP-seq results for several histone modifications and RNA polymerase II binding, RNA-seq for sense and antisense non-coding germline transcripts, and proximity to CTCF and Rad21 sites were compared to the usage of individual V genes. Computational analyses assessed the relative importance of these various accessibility elements. These elements divide the Igh locus into four epigenetically and transcriptionally distinct domains, and our computational analyses reveal different regulatory mechanisms for each region. Proximal V genes are relatively devoid of active histone marks and non-coding RNA in general, but having a CTCF site near their RSS is critical, suggesting that position near the base of the chromatin loops is important for rearrangement. In contrast, distal V genes have high levels of histone marks and non-coding RNA, which may compensate for their poorer RSS and for being distant from CTCF sites. Thus, the Igh locus has evolved a complex system for the regulation of V(D)J rearrangement that is different for of each the four domains that comprise this locus. RNA was extracted from C57BL/6 RAG-/- pro-B cells using TrizolM-BM-. (Life Technologies Corp., Carlsbad CA) and genomic DNA was eliminated using the genomic DNA wipeout buffer in the QuantiTect Reverse transcription kit (QIAGEN). A final purification of the RNA was performed with the RNeasy kit from QIAGEN. For each sample, 100 ng of total RNA was used to make RNASeq libraries using the NuGEN Encore Complete DR kits following manufacturer's recommended protocols. Sequencing libraries were gel purified to ensure insert sizes were larger than 100 bp in length and sequenced on an Ilumina HiSeq2000 for 100 bases plus 7 bases for indexing.
Project description:The genes encoding the variable (V) region of the B-cell antigen receptor (BCR) are assembled from V, D (diversity), and J (joining) elements through a RAG-mediated recombination process that relies on the recognition of recombination signal sequences (RSSs) flanking the individual elements. Secondary V(D)J rearrangement modifies the original Ig rearrangement if a nonproductive original joint is formed, as a response to inappropriate signaling from a self-reactive BCR, or as part of a stochastic mechanism to further diversify the Ig repertoire. VH replacement represents a RAG-mediated secondary rearrangement in which an upstream VH element recombines with a rearranged VHDHJH joint to generate a new BCR specificity. The rearrangement occurs between the cryptic RSS of the original VH element and the conventional RSS of the invading VH gene, leaving behind a footprint of up to five base pairs (bps) of the original VH gene that is often further obscured by exonuclease activity and N-nucleotide addition. We have previously demonstrated that VH replacement can efficiently rescue the development of B cells that have acquired two nonproductive heavy chain (IgH) rearrangements. Here we describe a novel knock-in mouse model in which the prerearranged IgH locus resembles an endogenously rearranged productive VHDHJH allele. Using this mouse model, we characterized the role of VH replacement in the diversification of the primary Ig repertoire through the modification of productive VHDHJH rearrangements. Our results indicate that VH replacement occurs before Ig light chain rearrangement and thus is not involved in the editing of self-reactive antibodies.
Project description:RAG endonuclease initiates antibody heavy chain variable region exon assembly from V, D, and J segments within a chromosomal V(D)J recombination center (RC) by cleaving between paired gene segments and flanking recombination signal sequences (RSSs). The IGCR1 control region promotes DJH intermediate formation by isolating Ds, JHs, and RCs from upstream VHs in a chromatin loop anchored by CTCF-binding elements (CBEs). How VHs access the DJHRC for VH to DJH rearrangement was unknown. We report that CBEs immediately downstream of frequently rearranged VH-RSSs increase recombination potential of their associated VH far beyond that provided by RSSs alone. This CBE activity becomes particularly striking upon IGCR1 inactivation, which allows RAG, likely via loop extrusion, to linearly scan chromatin far upstream. VH-associated CBEs stabilize interactions of D-proximal VHs first encountered by the DJHRC during linear RAG scanning and thereby promote dominant rearrangement of these VHs by an unanticipated chromatin accessibility-enhancing CBE function.
Project description:V(D)J recombination is essential for the generation of diverse antigen receptor (AgR) repertoires. In B cells, immunoglobulin kappa (Ig?) light chain recombination follows immunoglobulin heavy chain (Igh) recombination. We recently developed the DNA-based VDJ-seq assay for the unbiased quantitation of Igh VH and DH repertoires. Integration of VDJ-seq data with genome-wide datasets revealed that two chromatin states at the recombination signal sequence (RSS) of VH genes are highly predictive of recombination in mouse pro-B cells. It is unknown whether local chromatin states contribute to V? gene choice during Ig? recombination. Here we adapt VDJ-seq to profile the Ig? V?J? repertoire and present a comprehensive readout in mouse pre-B cells, revealing highly variable V? gene usage. Integration with genome-wide datasets for histone modifications, DNase hypersensitivity, transcription factor binding and germline transcription identified PU.1 binding at the RSS, which was unimportant for Igh, as highly predictive of whether a V? gene will recombine or not, suggesting that it plays a binary, all-or-nothing role, priming genes for recombination. Thereafter, the frequency with which these genes recombine was shaped both by the presence and level of enrichment of several other chromatin features, including H3K4 methylation and IKAROS binding. Moreover, in contrast to the Igh locus, the chromatin landscape of the promoter, as well as of the RSS, contributes to V? gene recombination. Thus, multiple facets of local chromatin features explain much of the variation in V? gene usage. Together, these findings reveal shared and divergent roles for epigenetic features and transcription factors in AgR V(D)J recombination and provide avenues for further investigation of chromatin signatures that may underpin V(D)J-mediated chromosomal translocations.
Project description:V(D)J recombination at the immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) locus follows the 12/23 rule to ensure the correct assembly of the variable region gene segments. Here, we report characterization of an in vivo model that allowed us to study recombination violating the 12/23 rule, namely a mouse strain lacking canonical D elements in its IgH locus. We demonstrate that VH to JH joining can support the generation of all B cell subsets. However, the process is inefficient in that B cells and antibodies derived from the DH-less allele are not detectable if the latter is combined with a wild-type IgH allele. There is no preferential usage of any particular VH gene family or JH element in VHJH junctions, indicating that 23/23-guided recombination is possible, but is a low frequency event at the IgH locus in vivo.