R-loops at immunoglobulin class switch regions in the chromosomes of stimulated B cells

Kefei Yu, Frederic Chedin, Chih Lin Hsieh, Thomas E. Wilson, Michael R. Lieber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

494 Scopus citations

Abstract

The mechanism responsible for immunoglobulin class switch recombination is unknown. Previous work has shown that class switch sequences have the unusual property of forming RNA-DNA hybrids when transcribed in vitro. Here we show that the RNA-DNA hybrid structure that forms in vitro is an R-loop with a displaced guanine (G)-rich strand that is single-stranded. This R-loop structure exists in vivo in B cells that have been stimulated to transcribe the γ3 or the γ2b switch region. The length of the R-loops can exceed 1 kilobase. We propose that this distinctive DNA structure is important in the class switch recombination mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-451
Number of pages10
JournalNature Immunology
Volume4
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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