V(D)J recombination in zebrafish: Normal joining products with accumulation of unresolved coding ends and deleted signal ends

Zhi Li, Yung Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


V(D)J recombination proceeds from a site-specific cleavage to an imprecise end joining, via generation and resolution of recombination ends. Although rearranged antigen receptor genes isolated from zebrafish (Danio rerio) resemble those made in mammals, differences may arise during evolution from lower to higher vertebrates, in regard to efficiency, fidelity and regulation of this recombination. To elucidate the V(D)J recombination reaction in zebrafish, we characterized recombination ends transiently produced by zebrafish lymphocytes, as well as joining products. Similar to their mammalian counterpart, zebrafish lymphocytes make perfect signal joints and normal coding joints, indicating their competent end resolution machinery. However, recombination ends recovered from the same zebrafish lymphoid tissues exhibit some features that are not readily seen in normal mammalian counterpart: deleted signal ends and accumulation of opened coding ends. These results indicate that the recombination reaction in zebrafish lymphocytes is inefficient and less stringently regulated, which may result from unstable post-cleavage complexes, and/or slow transition from cleavage to resolution. Our data suggests that the V(D)J recombination machinery may have undergone evolution selection to become more efficient in higher jawed vertebrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1793-1802
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Mar 2007



  • Non-homologous end joining
  • Recombination ends
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology

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