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Caldwell, Randolph B.; Braselmann, Herbert; Heuer, Steffen; Schötz, Ulrike; Zitzelsberger, Horst (2018): Gain‐of‐function analysis of cis‐acting diversification elements in DT40 cells. In: Immunology and Cell Biology, Vol. 96, No. 9: pp. 948-957
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Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) is required for the immunoglobulin diversification processes of somatic hypermutation, gene conversion and class-switch recombination. The targeting of AID's deamination activity is thought to be a combination of cis- and trans-acting elements, but has not been fully elucidated. Deletion analysis of putative proximal cis-regulatory motifs, while helpful, fails to identify additive versus cumulative effects, redundancy, and may create new motifs where none previously existed. In contrast, gain-of-function analysis can be more insightful with fewer of the same drawbacks and the output is a positive result. Here, we show five defined DNA regions of the avian Ig locus that are sufficient to confer events of hypermutation to a target gene. In our analysis, the essential cis-targeting elements fully reconstituted diversification of a transgene under heterologous promotion in the avian B-cell line DT40. Furthermore, to the best of our knowledge two of the five regions we report on here have not previously been described as individually having an influence on somatic hypermutation.