Evolution of immunoglobulin V genes: evidence indicating that recently duplicated human V kappa sequences have diverged by gene conversion.
Bentley DL., Rabbitts TH.
We have analyzed several closely related members of the gene family encoding the variable regions of human immunoglobulin kappa light chains (V kappa genes). Two of these genes differ at a single nucleotide out of 940 bases sequenced, and are believed to be alleles of a locus called HK 101. This substitution results in an amino acid replacement in the first complementarity-determining region of the kappa chain. We also compared the structures of two nonallelic human V kappa loci (HK 101 and HK 137) and found a high degree of sequence homology over a region at least 13.5 kb long. This long block of homology indicates that these two loci arose from a recent gene duplication. The DNA sequences of these two nonallelic V kappa genes exhibit a very unusual distribution of nucleotide substitutions. Seven of the ten substitutions found among 940 bases are clustered in a 39 base stretch encoding the first complementarity-determining region and the second framework region of the protein. We suggest that this cluster of substitutions was generated by a gene conversion in which a small segment of one gene was replaced with the homologous segment from another V kappa gene.