Reversible contraction of immunoglobulin loci juxtaposes the variable (V) genes next to the (diversity)-joining-constant ((D)JC) gene domain, thus facilitating V-(D)J recombination. Here we show that the T cell receptor β (Tcrb) and T cell receptor αδ (Tcra-Tcrd) loci also underwent long-range interactions by looping in double-negative and double-positive thymocytes, respectively. Contraction of the Tcrb and Tcra loci occurred in rearranging thymocytes and was reversed at the next developmental stage. Decontraction of the Tcrb locus probably prevented further Vβ- DJβrearrangements in double-positive thymocytes by separating the Vβgenes from the DJCβdomain. In most double-negative cells, one Tcrb allele was recruited to pericentromeric heterochromatin. Such allelic positioning may facilitate asynchronous Vβ-DJβrecombination. Hence, pericentromeric recruitment and locus 'decontraction' seem to contribute to the initiation and maintenance of allelic exclusion at the Tcrb locus.,
Nature Immunology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Skok, J., Gisler, R., Novatchkova, M., Farmer, D., de Laat, W., & Busslinger, M. (2007). Reversible contraction by looping of the Tcra and Tcrb loci in rearranging thymocytes. Nature Immunology, 8(4), 378–387. doi:10.1038/ni1448