Accumulation of B1-like B cells in transgenic mice over-expressing catalytically inactive RAG1 in the periphery

Ashraf E. Hassaballa, Victoria L. Palmer, Dirk K. Anderson, Michele D. Kassmeier, Vincent K. Nganga, Kevin W. Parks, Dustin L. Volkmer, Greg A. Perry, Patrick C. Swanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


During their development, B lymphocytes undergo V(D)J recombination events and selection processes that, if successfully completed, produce mature B cells expressing a non-self-reactive B-cell receptor (BCR). Primary V(D)J rearrangements yield self-reactive B cells at high frequency, triggering attempts to remove, silence, or reprogramme them through deletion, anergy induction, or secondary V(D)J recombination (receptor editing), respectively. In principle, expressing a catalytically inactive V(D)J recombinase during a developmental stage in which V(D)J rearrangement is initiated may impair this process. To test this idea, we generated transgenic mice expressing a RAG1 active site mutant (dnRAG1 mice); RAG1 transcript was elevated in splenic, but not bone marrow, B cells in dnRAG1 mice relative to wild-type mice. The dnRAG1 mice accumulate splenic B cells with a B1-like phenotype that exhibit defects in B-cell activation, and are clonally diverse, yet repertoire restricted with a bias toward Jκ1 gene segment usage. The dnRAG1 mice show evidence of impaired B-cell development at the immature-to-mature transition, immunoglobulin deficiency, and poorer immune responses to thymus-independent antigens. Interestingly, dnRAG1 mice expressing the anti-dsDNA 3H9H56R heavy chain fail to accumulate splenic B1-like cells, yet retain peritoneal B1 cells. Instead, these mice show an expanded marginal zone compartment, but no difference is detected in the frequency of heavy chain gene replacement. Taken together, these data suggest a model in which dnRAG1 expression impairs secondary V(D)J recombination. As a result, selection and/or differentiation processes are altered in a way that promotes expansion of B1-like B cells in the spleen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-486
Number of pages18
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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