T-cell receptor (TCR) gene rearrangements are mediated via V(D)J recombination, which is strictly regulated during lymphoid differentiation, most probably through the action of specific transcription factors. Investigated was whether cotransfection of RAG1 and RAG2 genes in combination with lymphoid transcription factors can induce TCR gene rearrangements in nonlymphoid human cells. Transfection experiments showed that basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors E2A and HEB induce rearrangements in the TCRD locus (Ddelta2-Ddelta3 and Vdelta2-Ddelta3) and TCRG locus (psi Vgamma7-Jgamma2.3 and Vgamma8-Jgamma2.3). Analysis of these rearrangements and their circular excision products revealed some peculiar characteristics. The Vdelta2-Ddelta3 rearrangements were formed by direct coupling without intermediate Ddelta2 gene segment usage, and most Ddelta2-Ddelta3 recombinations occurred via direct coupling of the respective upstream and downstream recombination signal sequences (RSSs) with deletion of the Ddelta2 and Ddelta3 coding sequences. Subsequently, the E2A/HEB-induced TCR gene recombination patterns were compared with those in early thymocytes and acute lymphoblastic leukemias of T- and B-lineage origin, and it was found that the TCR rearrangements in the transfectants were early (immature) and not necessarily T-lineage specific. Apparently, some parts of the TCRD (Vdelta2-Ddelta region) and TCRG genes are accessible for recombination not only in T cells, but also in early B-cells and even in nonlymphoid cells if the appropriate transcription factors are present. The transfection system described here appeared to be useful for studying the accessibility of immunoglobulin and TCR genes for V(D)J recombination, but might also be applied to study the induction of RSS-mediated chromosome aberrations.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Langerak, A.W, Wolvers-Tettero, I.L, van Gastel-Mol, E.J, Oud, M.E, & van Dongen, J.J.M. (2001). Basic helix-loop-helix proteins E2A and HEB induce immature T-cell receptor rearrangements in nonlymphoid cells. Blood. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/8234