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Translocations involving the T cell receptor alpha/delta (TCRalpha/delta) chain locus, which bring oncogenes in the proximity of the TCRalpha enhancer, are one of the hallmark features of human T cell malignancies from ataxia telangiectasia (AT) and non-AT patients. These lesions are frequently generated by the fusion of DNA breaks at the TCRalpha/delta locus to a disperse region centromeric of the immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) locus. Aberrant VDJ joining accounts for TCRalpha/delta associated DNA cleavage, but the molecular mechanism that leads to generation of the "oncogene partner" DNA break is unclear. Here we show that in ATM deficient primary mouse T cells, IgH/TCRalpha/delta fusions arise at a remarkably similar frequency as in human AT lymphocytes. Recombinase-activating gene (RAG) is responsible for both TCRalpha/delta as well as IgH associated breaks on chromosome 12 (Chr12), which are subject to varying degrees of chromosomal degradation. We suggest a new model for how oncogenic translocations can arise from two non-concerted physiological DSBs.


Elsa Callén, Sam Bunting, Ching-Yu Huang, Michael J Difilippantonio, Nancy Wong, Bernard Khor, Grace Mahowald, Michael J Kruhlak, Thomas Ried, Barry P Sleckman, André Nussenzweig. Chimeric IgH-TCRalpha/delta translocations in T lymphocytes mediated by RAG. Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.). 2009 Aug;8(15):2408-12

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PMID: 19556863

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