Introduced T cell receptor variable region gene segments recombine in pre-B cells: evidence that B and T cells use a common recombinase

Cell. 1986 Jan 31;44(2):251-9. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(86)90759-2.


We have recently proposed that a common recombinase performs all of the many variable region gene assembly events in B and T cells, and that the specificity of these joining events is mediated by regulating the "accessibility" of the involved gene segments. To test this possibility, we have introduced "accessible" T cell receptor (TCR) variable region gene segments into a pre-B cell line capable of recombining endogenous and transfected immunoglobulin (Ig) variable region gene segments. Although the corresponding "inaccessible" endogenous TCR gene segments do not rearrange in this line or in B cells in general, the introduced TCR gene segments join very frequently and, in fact, closely resemble introduced Ig gene segments in their recombination characteristics. These observations suggest a new role for conventional Ig transcriptional enhancers--recombinational enhancement. Our studies provide insight into additional aspects of the joining mechanism such as N region insertion, aberrant joining, and recombination-recognition sequence requirements for joining.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA Nucleotidyltransferases / genetics*
  • Deoxyribonucleases
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Immunoglobulins / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / genetics*
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • VDJ Recombinases


  • Immunoglobulins
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • DNA Nucleotidyltransferases
  • VDJ Recombinases
  • Deoxyribonucleases