Abstract

We report here the complete heavy and light chain variable region sequences of seven heterohybridomas derived from CD5+ chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) B lymphocytes and displaying natural autoantibody activity. The three hybrids displaying a polyreactive pattern of binding used VH4 family members, ie, the VH4–18 gene in germinal configuration in two cases and a VH4 gene with 90% homology with VH4–21 for the third one. A hybrid expressing anti-Sm activity used a VH3 family member with 95.26% homology with the 30P1 gene. The three hybrids exclusively displaying rheumatoid factor activity expressed VH1 family genes: 51P1 gene for two (in germinal configuration in one, and with 93.2% homology in the other), whereas the third one used the V1–3b gene (98.8% homology). Definitive homology with known germline D segments was found for four of the seven hybrids (DN2 in 3 and DLR4 in 1) and JH use appeared to be random. The three hybrids displaying polyreactive activity expressed V kappa I, V lambda III, and V lambda II genes, all in germinal configuration. Among the three hybrids with rheumatoid factor activity, two used the same V kappa II gene with, respectively, 98% and 96% homology with a gene previously described; the third used a V lambda I gene in germinal configuration. Finally, the clone with anti-Sm activity used a V lambda III gene having 97% homology with a germinal gene. Overall, these results attempt to establish the relationship between frequent self- reactivity observed in CD5+ B-CLL and V gene usage. For VH genes, they confirm overexpression of the 51P1 gene in B-CLL and suggest nonstochastic use of two VH4 genes (4–21 and 4–18). For VL genes, available information is too scarce to lead to firm conclusions.

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