DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) introduced in the switch (S) regions are intermediates during immunoglobulin class switch recombination (CSR). These breaks are subsequently recognized, processed, and joined, leading to recombination of the two S regions. Nonho- mologous end-joining (NHEJ) is believed to be the principle mechanism involved in DSB repair during CSR. One important component in NHEJ, Artemis, has however been considered to be dispensable for efficient CSR. In this study, we have characterized the S recom-binational junctions from Artemis-deficient human B cells. Sμ-Sα junctions could be amplified from all patients tested and were characterized by a complete lack of "direct" end-joining and a remarkable shift in the use of an alternative, microhomology-based end-joining pathway. Sμ-Sγ junctions could only be amplified from one patient who carries "hypomorphic" mutations. Although these S|μSγ junctions appear to be normal, a significant increase of an unusual type of sequential switching from immunoglobulin (Ig)M, through one IgG subclass, to a different IgG subclass was observed, and the Sγ-Sγ junctions showed long microhomologies. Thus, when the function of Artemis is impaired, varying modes of CSR junction resolution may be used for different S regions. Our findings strongly link Artemis to the predominant NHEJ pathway during CSR.

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Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1084/jem.20081915, hdl.handle.net/1765/28936
Journal The Journal of Experimental Medicine
Note Free full text at PubMed
Du, L, van der Burg, M, Popov, S.W, Kotnis, A, van Dongen, J.J.M, Gennery, A.R, & Pan-Hammarström, Q. (2008). Involvement of artemis in nonhomologous end-joining during immunoglobulin class switch recombination. The Journal of Experimental Medicine, 205(13), 3031–3040. doi:10.1084/jem.20081915