Secondary rearrangements of immunoglobulin gene segments that generate a new antibody repertoire in peripheral B cells have been described as receptor revision and occur by as yet unknown mechanisms. To determine the importance of recombination activating gene (RAG) expression in receptor revision, heterozygous rag1/green fluorescent protein (gfp) knockin mice were used to examine the location of RAG1 expression in the germinal centers (GCs) of lymphoid follicles after immunization with a variety of T-cell-dependent antigens. Immunization of rag1/gfp heterozygous mice or rag1 homozygous knockout mice reconstituted with rag1/gfp heterozygous spleen cells caused the down-regulation of RAG1/GFP signal in GCs. Although some RAG1/GFP+ cells appeared in regions surrounding the peanut agglutinin (PNA)+GL-7+ GC area, RAG1/GFP+ cells did not accumulate in the central region. In addition, the stimulation of spleen B cells with anti-μ antibody plus interleukin-4 (IL-4) or with anti-CD40 monoclonal antibody plus IL-7 did not induce GFP signals at detectable levels in vitro. These results clearly demonstrate that RAG1 re-expression either does not occur or is at extremely low levels in antigen-driven B cells in GCs of secondary lymphoid follicles, suggesting that other mechanisms may mediate the gene rearrangements observed in receptor revision.
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