Repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) by the nonhomologous end-joining pathway (NHEJ) is important not only for repair of spontaneous breaks but also for breaks induced in developing lymphocytes during V(D)J (variable [V], diversity [D], and joining [J] genes) recombination of their antigen receptor loci to create a diverse repertoire. Mutations in the NHEJ factor XLF result in extreme sensitivity for ionizing radiation, microcephaly, and growth retardation comparable to mutations in LIG4 and XRCC4, which together form the NHEJ ligation complex. However, the effect on the immune system is variable (mild to severe immunodeficiency) and less prominent than that seen in deficiencies of NHEJ factors ARTEMIS and DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit, with defects in the hairpin opening step, which is crucial and unique for V(D)J recombination. Therefore, we aimed to study the role of XLF during V(D)J recombination. We obtained clinical data from 9 XLF-deficient patients and performed immune phenotyping and antigen receptor repertoire analysis of immunoglobulin (Ig) and T-cell receptor (TR) rearrangements, using next-generation sequencing in 6 patients. The results were compared with XRCC4 and LIG4 deficiency. Both Ig and TR rearrangements showed a significant decrease in the number of nontemplated (N) nucleotides inserted by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase, which resulted in a decrease of 2 to 3 amino acids in the CDR3. Such a reduction in the number of N-nucleotides hasagreateffecton thejunctionaldiversity, and therebyon thetotaldiversityof theIg and TRrepertoire. ThisshowsthatXLFhasan important role during V(D)J recombination in creating diversity of the repertoire by stimulating N-nucleotide insertion.

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Journal Blood
IJspeert, H, Rozmus, J. (Jacob), Schwarz, K, Warren, R.L. (René L.), van Zessen, D, van der Holt, R, … van der Burg, M. (2016). XLF deficiency results in reduced N-nucleotide addition during V(D)J recombination. Blood, 128(5), 650–659. doi:10.1182/blood-2016-02-701029