Potential contribution of VH gene replacement in immunity and disease.

Yanwen Liu, Run Fan, Song Zhou, Zhihong Yu, Zhixin Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


VH replacement occurs through RAG-mediated recombination between a cryptic recombination signal sequence (cRSS) presented in a rearranged VH gene and a 23-bp RSS from an upstream VH gene. VH replacement renews the entire VH coding region and extends the immunoglobulin heavy-chain (IgH) CDR3 regions preferentially with charged amino acids. VH replacement occurs in bone marrow-immature B cells and contributes significantly to the primary B-cell repertoire in humans. However, the biological significance of VH replacement is not clear. Our recent studies revealed elevated frequencies of VH replacement products in different autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and Sjögren's syndrome. Moreover, elevated frequencies of VH replacement products were also found in patients with human immunodeficiency virus or hepatitis C virus infections. These results provide the first clue that VH replacement contributes to autoimmune disease and antiviral immunity, and they also suggest a potential link between viral infection and autoimmune disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-181
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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