Double-stranded DNA breaks (DSBs) at the IgV region (IgV) genes might be involved in somatic hypermutation and affinity-maturation of the B cell receptor in response to T cell-dependent Ag. By ligation-mediated PCR, we studied IgV DSBs that occurred in mature germinal center B cells in response to nitrophenyl-chicken γ-globulin in a RAG1-independent, Ag-dependent, and IgV-selective manner. We quantified their levels in GANP-deficient B cells that have impaired generation of high-affinity Ab. GANP-/- B cells showed a decreased level of DSBs with blunt ends than control B cells and, on the contrary, the ganp gene transgenic (GANPTg) B cells showed an increased level. These results suggested that the level of IgV DSBs in germinal center B cells is associated with GANP expression, which is presumably required for B cell receptor affinity maturation.
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