Transcription factor NF-κB regulates Igλ light chain gene rearrangement

H. H. Bendall, M. L. Sikes, E. M. Oltz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


The tissue- and stage-specific assembly of Ig and TCR genes is mediated by a common V(D)J recombinase complex in precursor lymphocytes. Directed alterations in the accessibility of V, D, and J gene segments target the recombinase to specific Ag receptor loci. Accessibility within a given locus is regulated by the functional interaction of transcription factors with cognate enhancer elements and correlates with the transcriptional activity of unrearranged gene segments. As demonstrated in our prior studies, rearrangement of the Igκ locus is regulated by the inducible transcription factor NF-κB. In contrast to the Igκ locus, known transcriptional control elements in the Igλ locus lack functional NF-κB binding sites. Consistent with this observation, the expression of assembled Igλ genes in mature B cells has been shown to be NF-κB independent. Nonetheless, we now show that specific repression of NF-κB inhibits germline transcription and recombination of Igλ gene segments in precursor B cells. Molecular analyses indicate that the block in NF-κB impairs Igλ rearrangement at the level of recombinase accessibility. In contrast, the activities of known Igλ promoter and enhancer elements are unaffected in the same cellular background. These findings expand the range of NF-κB action in precursor B cells beyond Igκ to include the control of recombinational accessibility at both L chain loci. Moreover, our results strongly suggest the existence of a novel Igλ regulatory element that is either directly or indirectly activated by NF-κB during the early stages of B cell development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-269
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2001

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    Bendall, H. H., Sikes, M. L., & Oltz, E. M. (2001). Transcription factor NF-κB regulates Igλ light chain gene rearrangement. Journal of Immunology, 167(1), 264-269.