The normal IGHV1-69-derived B-cell repertoire contains stereotypic patterns characteristic of unmutated CLL

Blood. 2010 Jan 7;115(1):71-7. doi: 10.1182/blood-2009-06-225813. Epub 2009 Nov 3.


The cell of origin of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) has long been sought, and immunoglobulin gene analysis provides new clues. In the unmutated subset (U-CLL), there is increased usage of the 51p1-related alleles of the immunoglobulin heavy chain variable 1-69 gene, often combined with selected genes and with immunoglobulin heavy chain diversity IGHJ6. Stereotypic characteristics of the HCDR3 result and suggest antigen selection of the leukemic clones. We have now analyzed 51p1/IGHJ6 combinations in normal blood B cells from 3 healthy persons for parallel sequence patterns. A high proportion (33.3% of sequences) revealed stereotypic patterns, with several (15.0%) being similar to those described in U-CLL. Previously unreported CLL-associated stereotypes were detected in 4.8%. Stereotypes (13.6%) not detected in CLL also were found. The HCDR2-IGHJ6 sequences were essentially unmutated. Junctional amino acids in normal B cells were heterogeneous, as in cases of stereotyped CLL. Phenotypically, normal B cells expressing 51p1-derived immunoglobulin M were naive. This snapshot of the naive B-cell repertoire reveals subsets of B cells closely related to those characteristic of CLL. Conserved patterns in the 51p1-encoded immunoglobulin M of normal B cells suggest a restricted sequence repertoire shaped by evolution to recognize common pathogens. Proliferative pressure on these cells is the likely route to U-CLL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alleles
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Blood Donors
  • Complementarity Determining Regions / chemistry
  • Complementarity Determining Regions / genetics
  • Complementarity Determining Regions / immunology
  • Female
  • Gene Rearrangement, B-Lymphocyte, Heavy Chain / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / chemistry
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / genetics*
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region / chemistry
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region / genetics*
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region / immunology
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / genetics*
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Phenotype


  • Complementarity Determining Regions
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region