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Biotechnical Methods Section (BTS)

Rapid amplification of immunoglobulin heavy chain switch (IGHS) translocation breakpoints using long-distance inverse PCR


Molecular cloning of immunoglobulin heavy chain (IGH) translocation breakpoints identifies genes of biological importance in the development of normal and malignant B cells. Long-distance inverse PCR (LDI-PCR) was first applied to amplification of IGH gene translocations targeted to the joining (IGHJ) regions. We report here successful amplification of the breakpoint of IGH translocations targeted to switch (IGHS) regions by LDI-PCR. To detect IGHS translocations, Southern blot assays using 5′ and 3′ switch probes were performed. Illegitimate Sμ rearrangements were amplified from the 5′ end (5′Sμ LDI-PCR) from the alternative derivative chromosome, and those of Sγ or Sα were amplified from the 3′ end (3′Sγ or 3′α LDI-PCR) from the derivative chromosome 14. Using a combination of these methods, we have succeeded in amplifying IGHS translocation breakpoints involving FGFR3/MMSET on 4p16, BCL6 on 3q27, MYC on 8q24, IRTA1 on 1q21 and PAX5 on 9p13 as well as BCL11A on 2p13 and CCND3 on 6p21. The combination of LDI-PCR for IGHJ and IGHS allows rapid molecular cloning of almost all IGH gene translocation breakpoints.

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This work was supported by Lady Tata Foundation, The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, Deutsche Krebshilfe and The Human Resources Support Foundation under Kumamoto City Municipal Centennial Commemorative Project. We thank Dr Abraham Karpas (University of Cambridge, UK) for kindly providing the Karpas 1718 cell line.

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Correspondence to M J S Dyer.

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Sonoki, T., Willis, T., Oscier, D. et al. Rapid amplification of immunoglobulin heavy chain switch (IGHS) translocation breakpoints using long-distance inverse PCR. Leukemia 18, 2026–2031 (2004).

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  • IGH switch region
  • translocation

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