In this study, we analyze the restriction fragment length polymorphisms of VH 18 2, a gene encoding the heavy chain of an anti-DNA antibody, and correlate that with the germline sequence of the gene's coding region. Oligonucleotides probes complementary to the CDR1 and to both the 5' and 3' halves of the CDR2 gene segments were hybridized under stringent conditions to genomic DNA digested with Xbal, and yielded polymorphic bands of 26, 24 and 18 kb with all three probes. Individuals had either one, two, or three bands in common in their genomic DNA, indicating duplication of VH 18 2 genes at two sites within the IgH locus. While it is difficult to say which of the three polymorphic gene segments constitute an allelic pair, the 26 and 24 kb fragments were the most commonly seen (97% of individuals had one or both). VH 18 2 is known to be over-represented in the expressed repertoire with very little nucleotide divergence from the germline sequence. In order to determine whether the observed RFLPs are due to sequence polymorphism of the VH 18 2 coding region, and whether differences in the expressed genes arise from somatic mutation, size-selected genomic DNA containing the gene was cloned and sequenced. A single coding region sequence was found in the germline. The results of this study suggest that overexpression of VH 18 2 may in part be due to its duplication. Like other genes encoding autoantibody, which are well conserved, nonpolymorphic and expressed early in programmed immunologic development, VH 18 2 may be instrumental in the establishment or regulation of the immune repertoire.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology