We have mapped and annotated the variable region of the immunoglobulin heavy (IGH) gene locus of the Brown Norway (BN) rat (assembly V3.4; Rat Genomic Sequence Consortium). In addition to known variable region genes, we found 12 novel previously unidentified functional IGHV genes and 1 novel functional IGHD gene. In total, the variable region of the rat IGH locus is composed of at least 353 unique IGHV genes, 21 IGHD genes, and 5 IGHJ genes, of which 131, 14, and 4 are potentially functional genes, respectively. Of all species studied so far, the rat seems to have the highest number of functional IGHV genes in the genome. Rat IGHV genes can be classified into 13 IGHV families based on nucleotide sequence identity. The variable region of the BN rat spans a total length of approximately 4.9 Mb and is organized in a typical translocon organization. Like the mouse, members of the various IGHV gene families are more or less grouped together on the genome, albeit some members of IGHV gene families are found intermingled with each other. In the rat, the largest IGHV gene families are IGHV1, IGHV2, and IGHV5. The overall conclusion is that the genomic organization of the variable region of the rat IGH locus is strikingly similar to that of the mouse, illustrating the close evolutionary relationship between these two species.
- Immunoglobulin locus
- Immunoglobulin heavy-chain genes
- ANTIBODY REPERTOIRE DEVELOPMENT
- ZONE B-CELLS
- V-H GENES