Absence of DNA polymerase θ results in decreased somatic hypermutation frequency and altered mutation patterns in Ig genes

Keiji Masuda, Rika Ouchida, Masaki Hikida, Manabu Nakayama, Osamu Ohara, Tomohiro Kurosaki, Jiyang O-Wang

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Multiple DNA polymerases participate in somatic hypermutation of immunoglobulin (Ig) genes. Mutations at A/T are largely dependent on DNA polymerase η (POLH) whereas mutations at C/G appear to be generated by several DNA polymerases. We have previously shown that mice expressing a catalytically inactive POLQ (Polq-inactive) have a reduction in C/G mutations. Here we have generated mice that completely lack Polq expression (Polq-null). Polq-null mice have no obvious abnormality in B or T cell differentiation, and their splenic B cells responded normally to various activation signals and underwent normal Ig gene class switching. The mutant mice mounted relatively normal immune responses against a T-dependent antigen although there was a slight decrease in antigen specific antibodies. Polq-null mice exhibited a mild reduction in the overall mutation frequency, however, in contrast to Polq-inactive mice where the reduction mostly affected mutations at C/G, Polq-null mice showed a reduction of both C/G and A/T mutations and there was a significant increase of G to C transversions. These results confirm a role for POLQ in somatic hypermutation and suggest that in the complete absence of POLQ other polymerases may functionally substitute, resulting in a mutation pattern different from that found in Polq-inactive mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1384-1391
Number of pages8
JournalDNA Repair
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 8 2006


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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