A conserved sequence in the immunoglobulin J kappa-C kappa intron: possible enhancer element

Emorine, L.; Kuehl, M.; Weir, L.; Leder, P.; Max, E.E.

Nature 304(5925): 447-449


ISSN/ISBN: 0028-0836
PMID: 6308460
Accession: 042054845

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Several functionally important genetic elements (such as the TATA box, mRNA splice sequences, poly(A) addition signal) were first detected as short segments of unexplained sequence homology within non-coding regions of different genes. A short region of unknown sequence in the intron between the human J kappa and C kappa immunoglobulin coding regions was found to be sufficiently homologous to the corresponding segment of the mouse gene to form stable heteroduplexes. Although no specific function has yet been definitely ascribed to this region (which we call the kappa intron conserved region, or KICR), some functional significance has been inferred from the findings that (1) activation of B lymphocytes induces a DNase hypersensitivity site in this region and (2) deletions including this region reduce expression of kappa genes introduced into lymphoid cells. To delineate the KICR more precisely and to test the generality of the sequence conservation in a third species, we have sequenced this region of the human and mouse genes and have examined the corresponding region of a recently cloned rabbit kappa gene. We find a segment of about 130 base pairs (bp) that shows striking conservation in all three species, demonstrating homology significantly higher than within the C kappa coding region itself. Two short sequences from the J kappa-C kappa intron that were noted by other investigators to be homologous to proposed 'enhancer' sequences both lie within the conserved region.