Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract At least 32 mostly single-member subfamilies of T-cell receptor alpha variable (TCRAV) genes have been described in humans. The AV1 subfamily is the largest, estimated by hybridization to contain as many as five members. However, a search of nucleotide sequence databases reveals a much greater number of unique sequences corresponding to this subfamily. In order to resolve this discrepancy between hybridization and nucleotide sequencing data, and to better understand the nature of variability among variable genes within a large subfamily, a genomic characterization of the AV1 subfamily in humans was carried out. Total genomic DNA, as well as isolated genomic clones spanning the TCRA region were screened for members of the AV1 subfamily by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and nucleotide sequencing as well as by hybridization. A total of eight AV1 genes were identified and their nucleotide sequences were determined. Three of the sequences represent new genes. Based on structural features and the results of PCR screening of cDNA, none of these new genes appear to be functional. Several additional previously reported AV1 sequences were determined to represent alleles of AV1 genes, and simple PCR restriction digest assays were established for their detection. Use of each of the identified AV1 genes as hybridization probes failed to reveal any additional hybridizing bands. Thus the AV1genes represent the largest TCRAV subfamily with a maximum of eight members, several of which have common allelic forms.
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