Hypermutation in shark immunoglobulin light chain genes results in contiguous substitutions

Susan S. Lee, Daniel Tranchina, Yuko Ohta, Martin F. Flajnik, Ellen Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Among 631 substitutions present in 90 nurse shark immunoglobulin light chain somatic mutants, 338 constitute 2-4 bp stretches of adjacent changes. An absence of mutations in perinatal sequences and the bias for one mutating V gene in adults suggest that the diversification is antigen dependent. The substitutions shared no patterns, and the absence of donor sequences, including from family members, supports the idea that most changes arose from nontemplated mutation. The tandem mutations as a group are distinguished by consistently fewer transition changes and an A bias. We suggest this is one of several pathways of hypermutation diversifying shark antigen-receptor genes - point mutations, tandem mutations, and mutations with a G-C preference - that coevolved with or preceded gene rearrangement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-582
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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