Ig H chain V regions using the VH81X gene segment were PCR amplified from genomic DNA obtained from either splenic B cells or surface (s)Ig- bone marrow cells of BALB/c mice. Sequence analysis demonstrated that 93% of VH81X containing H chain V region genes in splenic B cells were rearranged nonproductively. Furthermore, 74% of rearrangements of VH81X among sIg- bone marrow cells were nonproductive. This contrasts with previous results obtained for rearrangements of members of the VH36-60 gene segment family among sIg- cells wherein, as a consequence of extensive clonal expansion after productive H chain V gene rearrangement, 80% of rearrangements were productive. The low proportion of productive rearrangements of VH81X is interpreted as indicating that most productive rearrangements of VH81X cannot facilitate clonal expansion, which would support the hypothesis that selection for clonal expansion and maturation is dependent on the amino acid sequence of nascent H chains. Additionally, because most productive rearrangements of VH81X cannot facilitate clonal maturation but do appear to mediate allelic exclusion, these processes are likely to be regulated independently.

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