Ig VH1 genes expressed in B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia exhibit distinctive molecular features

J Immunol. 1997 Jan 1;158(1):235-46.


Prior studies revealed that the leukemic B cells of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) express a restricted Ig heavy chain variable region gene (VH gene) repertoire. However, this restriction needs to be re-evaluated in light of findings that the repertoire of Ig VH genes used by primary B cells of normal adults is actually more restricted than originally assumed. Because of this, we critically examined the Ig VH1 and VH7 genes expressed by leukemia cells of a random panel of patients with B cell CLL (n = 117). Forty-one (35%) had leukemia cells with functional VH1 gene rearrangements. Of these, the large majority expressed Ig VH1-69 (n = 26; 63%). The remaining leukemia cell samples expressed VH1-2 (n = 4; 10%), VH1-3 (n = 2; 5%), VH1-8 (n = 2; 5%), VH1-18 (n = 1; 2%), VH1-45 (n = 1; 2%), and VH1-46 (n = 5; 12%). Only 1 of the 117 examined (<1%) used Ig VH genes of the VH7 subgroup. We found that certain alleles of the IgVH1-69 locus are favored in CLL. Also, leukemia B cells that express VH1-69 have a distinctive use distribution of D and JH gene segments compared with that of VH1-expressing CLL B cells that do not use VH1-69 or non-neoplastic B cells that express VH1-69. Finally, the average length of the heavy chain third complementarity-determining regions (CDR3) of VH1-69-expressing leukemia cells is significantly longer than that of normal adult B cells that also express Ig encoded by VH1-69 genes. Collectively, this study indicates that the Ig expressed in CLL have distinctive molecular features that are not representative of the Ig expressed by primary B cells of normal adults.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / immunology*
  • Genes, Immunoglobulin / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / biosynthesis
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / genetics*
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region / biosynthesis
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region / genetics*
  • Leukemia, B-Cell / genetics*
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data


  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U84156
  • GENBANK/U84157
  • GENBANK/U84158
  • GENBANK/U84159
  • GENBANK/U84160
  • GENBANK/U84161
  • GENBANK/U84162
  • GENBANK/U84163
  • GENBANK/U84164
  • GENBANK/U84165
  • GENBANK/U84166
  • GENBANK/U84167
  • GENBANK/U84168
  • GENBANK/U84169
  • GENBANK/U84170
  • GENBANK/U84171
  • GENBANK/U84172
  • GENBANK/U84173
  • GENBANK/U84174
  • GENBANK/U84175
  • GENBANK/U84176
  • GENBANK/U84177
  • GENBANK/U84178
  • GENBANK/U84179
  • GENBANK/U84180
  • GENBANK/U84181
  • GENBANK/U84182
  • GENBANK/U84183
  • GENBANK/U84184
  • GENBANK/U84185