Faculty Research 1990 - 1999


Isotype switching of an immunoglobulin heavy chain transgene occurs by DNA recombination between different chromosomes.

Document Type


Publication Date



Base-Sequence, Chromosome-Mapping, Cloning-Molecular, Comparative-Study, Crosses-Genetic, DNA: ge, Genes-Immunoglobulin, Immunoglobulins-Heavy-Chain: ge, Mice, Mice-Inbred-BALB-C, Mice-Inbred-C57BL, Mice-Transgenic, Molecular-Sequence-Data, Oligonucleotide-Probes, Recombination-Genetic, Restriction-Mapping, Sequence-Homology-Nucleic-Acid, SUPPORT-NON-U-S-GOVT, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-P-H-S, Translocation-(Genetics)

JAX Source

Cell 1990 Nov 2; 63(3):537-48.


Transgenic mice carrying an immunoglobulin mu heavy chain transgene exhibit isotype switching of the transgene. We have now characterized the mechanism of transgene switching in these mice. The site of mu transgene insertion in one transgenic line has been localized to chromosome 5 using a series of polymorphic endogenous retroviruses as genetic markers in backcross mice. The endogenous immunoglobulin heavy chain locus resides on mouse chromosome 12, which shows that transgene isotype switching can occur between two different chromosomes even though normal antibody gene switching has generally been thought to occur within one chromosome. We find that transgene isotype switching involves interchromosomal DNA recombination, and our data suggest that the same enzymatic mechanisms mediate both normal isotype switch recombination and interchromosomal transgene switching. Our findings also support the notion that the isotype switching mechanism can induce chromosomal translocations such as observed for the c-myc gene in some B cell tumors.

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