Similarities between initiation of V(D)J recombination and retroviral integration

Dik C. Van Gent, Kiyoshi Mizuuchi, Martin Gellert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

249 Citations (Scopus)


In the first step of V(D)J recombination, the RAG1 and RAG2 proteins cleave DNA between a signal sequence and the adjacent coding sequence, generating a blunt signal end and a coding end with a closed hairpin structure. These hairpins are intermediates leading to the formation of assembled antigen receptor genes. It is shown here that the hairpins are formed by a chemical mechanism of direct trans-esterification, very similar to the early steps of transpositional recombination and retroviral integration, A minor variation in the reaction is sufficient to divert the process from transposition to hairpin formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1592-1594
Number of pages3
Issue number5255
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 1996
Externally publishedYes


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