Stimulation of V(D)J cleavage by high mobility group proteins

Dik C. van Gent, Kevin Hiom, Tanya T. Paull, Martin Gellert (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    221 Citations (Scopus)


    V(D)J recombination requires a pair of signal sequences with spacer lengths of 12 and 23 bp between the conserved heptamer and nonamer elements. The RAG1 and RAG2 proteins initiate the reaction by making double-strand DNA breaks at both signals, and must thus be able to operate on these two different spatial arrangements. We show that the DNA-bending proteins HMG1 and HMG2 stimulate cleavage and RAG protein binding at the 23 bp spacer signal. These findings suggest that DNA bending is important for bridging the longer spacer, and explain how a similar array of RAG proteins could accommodate a signal with either a 12 or a 23 bp spacer. An additional effect of HMG proteins is to stimulate coupled cleavage greatly when both signal sequences are present, suggesting that these proteins also aid the formation of a synaptic complex.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2665-2670
    Number of pages6
    JournalEMBO Journal
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 15 May 1997


    • Binding sites
    • DNA
    • DNA-binding proteins
    • Gene rearrangement, T-Lymphocyte
    • High mobility group proteins
    • Homeodomain proteins
    • Models, Genetic
    • Nucleic acid conformation
    • Protein binding
    • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
    • Recombination, Genetic


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