The Pattern of Joining (JH) Gene Usage in the Human IgH Chain Is Established Predominantly at the B Precursor Cell Stage

J Immunol. 1992 Jul 15;149(2):511-6.


Preferential utilization of JH and D genes has been demonstrated in the rearranged IgH chain in human peripheral B cells. We report here that the same hierarchy of JH gene usage is observed in leukemic cells arrested in the B precursor stage of differentiation. Specifically, JH4 and JH6 accounted for 42.9% and 35.7%, respectively, of the JH gene usage in the leukemias compared with an expected frequency of 16.7% assuming unbiased gene usage. Within the D gene families, the DN1 gene appears to be overutilized in both populations, representing about 15% of the total gene usage compared with an expected frequency of 3.2%. Because 21 of the 36 leukemias contained only nonproductive IgH rearrangements, the preferential gene usage could not have arisen from pre-B cells that have undergone clonal selection after a productive rearrangement but before surface Ig expression. Nonproductive rearrangements exhibited the biased gene usage seen for productive rearrangements. These findings suggest that a recombination bias favoring certain segments may be the actual mechanism responsible for the apparent preferential utilization of JH and D genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Gene Rearrangement
  • Genes, Immunoglobulin*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / genetics*
  • Immunoglobulin Joining Region / genetics*
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region / genetics
  • Infant
  • Molecular Sequence Data


  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains
  • Immunoglobulin Joining Region
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region