Immunoglobulin (Ig) loci are selectively activated for transcription and rearrangement during B lymphocyte development. Using fluorescence in situ hybridization, we show that Ig heavy (H) and Igκ loci are preferentially positioned at the nuclear periphery in hematopoietic progenitors and pro-T cells but are centrally configured in pro-B nuclei. The inactive loci at the periphery do not associate with centromeric heterochromatin. Upon localization away from the nuclear periphery in pro-B cells, the IgH locus appears to undergo large-scale compaction. We suggest that subnuclear positioning represents a novel means of regulating transcription and recombination of IgH and Igκ loci during lymphocyte development.
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