Transcription factor Pax5 (BSAP) transactivates the RAG-mediated VH-to-DJH rearrangement of immunoglobulin genes

Zhixin Zhang, Celia R. Espinoza, Zhihong Yu, Robert Stephan, Ti He, G. Stuart Williams, Peter D. Burrows, James Hagman, Ann J. Feeney, Max D. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Immunoglobulin rearrangement from variable heavy chain (VH) to diversity (D)-joining heavy chain (JH), which occurs exclusively in B lineage cells, is impaired in mice deficient for the B lineage-specific transcription factor Pax5. Conversely, ectopic Pax5 expression in thymocytes promotes the rearrangement of DH -proximal VH7183 genes. In exploring the mechanism for Pax5 regulation of VH-to-DJH recombination, we have identified multiple Pax5 binding sites in the coding regions of human and mouse VH gene segments. Pax5 bound to those sites in vitro and occupied VH genes in early human and mouse B lineage cells. Moreover, Pax5 interacted with the recombination-activating gene 1 (RAG1)-RAG2 complex to enhance RAG-mediated VH recombination signal sequence cleavage and recombination of a VH gene substrate. These findings indicate a direct activating function for Pax5 in RAG-mediated immunoglobulin VH-to-DJH recombination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)616-624
Number of pages9
JournalNature Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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