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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Recombinase-activating gene (RAG) 2-mediated V(D)J recombination is not essential for tumorigenesis in Atm-deficient mice.

The majority of Atm-deficient mice die of malignant thymic lymphoma by 4-5 mo of age. Cytogenetic abnormalities in these tumors are consistently identified within the Tcr alpha/delta locus, suggesting that tumorigenesis is secondary to aberrant responses to double-stranded DNA breaks that occur during V(D)J recombination. Since V(D)J recombination is a recombinase-activating gene (RAG)-dependent process, we generated Rag2(-/-)Atm(-/-) mice to assess the requirement for RAG-dependent recombination in thymic lymphomagenesis. In contrast to expectation, the data presented here indicate that development of malignant thymic lymphoma in Atm(-/-) mice is not prevented by loss of RAG-2 and thus is not dependent on V(D)J recombination. Malignant thymic lymphomas in Rag2(-/-)Atm(-/-) mice occurred at a lower frequency and with a longer latency as compared with Atm(-/-) mice. Importantly, cytogenetic analysis of these tumors indicated that multiple chromosomal abnormalities occurred in each tumor, but that none of these involved the Tcr alpha/delta locus. Nonmalignant peripheral T cells from TCR-transgenic Rag2(-/-)Atm(-/-) mice also revealed a substantial increase in translocation frequency, suggesting that these translocations are early events in the process of tumorigenesis. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that the major mechanism of tumorigenesis in Atm(-/-) mice is via chromosomal translocations and other abnormalities that are secondary to aberrant responses to double-stranded DNA breaks. Furthermore, these data suggest that V(D)J recombination is a critical, but not essential, event during which Atm-deficient thymocytes are susceptible to developing chromosome aberrations that predispose to malignant transformation.[1]


  1. Recombinase-activating gene (RAG) 2-mediated V(D)J recombination is not essential for tumorigenesis in Atm-deficient mice. Petiniot, L.K., Weaver, Z., Barlow, C., Shen, R., Eckhaus, M., Steinberg, S.M., Ried, T., Wynshaw-Boris, A., Hodes, R.J. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2000) [Pubmed]
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