Expression of error-prone polymerases in BL2 cells activated for Ig somatic hypermutation

Vladimir Poltoratsky, Caroline J. Woo, Brigette Tippin, Alberto Martin, Myron F. Goodman, Matthew D. Scharff

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65 Scopus citations


High affinity antibodies are generated in mice and humans by means of somatic hypermutation (SHM) of variable (V) regions of Ig genes. Mutations with rates of 10-5-10-3 per base pair per generation, about 106-fold above normal, are targeted primarily at V-region hot spots by unknown mechanisms. We have measured mRNA expression of DNA polymerases ι, η, and ζ by using cultured Burkitt's lymphoma (BL)2 cells. These cells exhibit 5-10-fold increases in heavy-chain V-region mutations targeted only predominantly to RGYW (R = A or G, Y = C or T, W = T or A) hot spots if costimulated with T cells and IgM crosslinking, the presumed in vivo requirements for SHM. An ∼4-fold increase pol ι mRNA occurs within 12 h when cocultured with T cells and surface IgM crosslinking. Induction of pols η and ζ occur with T cells, IgM crosslinking, or both stimuli. The fidelity of pol ι was measured at RGYW hot-and non-hot-spot sequences situated at nicks, gaps, and double-strand breaks. Pol ι formed T·G mispairs at a frequency of 10-2, consistent with SHM-generated C to T transitions, with a 3-fold increased error rate in hot- vs. non-hot-spot sequences for the single-nucleotide overhang. The T cell and IgM crosslinking-dependent induction of pol ι at 12 h may indicate an SHM "triggering" event has occurred. However, pols ι, η, and ζ are present under all conditions, suggesting that their presence is not sufficient to generate mutations because both T cell and IgM stimuli are required for SHM induction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7976-7981
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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