Evolution of mouse immunoglobulin lambda genes.

E. Selsing, J. Miller, R. Wilson, U. Storb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


The mouse has four C lambda and two V lambda genes. We have isolated Charon 4A clones that contain all six lambda genes from a BALB/c germ-line library. We present here the DNA sequences of the C lambda 2, C lambda 3, and C lambda 4 genes and also correct what are apparently errors in previous reports of C lambda 1 protein and DNA sequences. In addition, we have analyzed cloned DNAs by restriction mapping and electron microscopy to determine the relationships among the various lambda genes. By heteroduplex analysis, two gene clusters containing JC lambda 3--JC lambda 1 and JC lambda 2--JC lambda 4 show homology extending from the J regions 5' of C lambda 3/C lambda 2 to just 3' of C lambda 1/C lambda 4. Other than the region between the genes, very little homology exists in the C lambda flanking regions. In contrast, V lambda 1 and V lambda 2 genes show considerable homology extending into the 5' flanking regions. Large inverted repeats are found in the 5' flanking regions of V lambda 1 and C lambda 3, as well as in the 3' flanking regions of both C lambda gene clusters. DNA sequence divergences between the C lambda genes indicate that an ancestral JC lambda x--JC lambda g gene cluster arose at about the time of the first mammals by duplication of a primordial JC lambda gene. The data further suggest that the JC lambda x--JC lambda gene cluster duplicated after the speciation of mouse and man and subsequently diverged into the present day JC lambda 3--JC lambda 1 and JC lambda 2--JC lambda 4 gene clusters. C lambda 4, a pseudogene, became inactive at about the time of duplication of the ancestral JC lambda x--JC lambda y cluster. Comparison of DNA sequence divergence between the V lambda 1 and V lambda 2 genes demonstrates an anomaly. The percentage of amino acid replacement changes is approximately the same for V lambda 1/V lambda 2 as for C lambda 3/C lambda 2, implying that the ancestral V lambda gene was duplicated at the same time, and possibly together with, the JC lambda x--JC lambda y cluster. However, there are fewer silent changes than amino acid replacement changes between the V lambda 1/V lambda 2 genes, suggesting either that a selective pressure acted on the silent sites or that V lambda genes have only recently been duplicated. We also consider the possibility of a gene conversion event subsequent ot a more ancient duplication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4681-4685
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1982


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