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Illegitimate recombination between T cell receptor genes in humans and pigs (Sus scrofa domestica)

Musilova, Petra, Drbalova, Jitka, Kubickova, Svatava, Cernohorska, Halina, Stepanova, Hana, Rubes, Jiri
Chromosome research 2014 v.22 no.4 pp. 483-493
T-lymphocytes, chromosome translocation, fluorescence in situ hybridization, genes, humans, loci, lymphoma, receptors, risk, site-specific recombination, swine
T cell receptor (TCR) genes (TRA/TRD, TRB and TRG) reside in three regions on human chromosomes (14q11.2, 7q34 and 7p14, respectively) and pig chromosomes (7q15.3-q21, 18q11.3-q12 and 9q21-22, respectively). During the maturation of T cells, TCR genes are rearranged by site-specific recombination. Occasionally, interlocus recombination of different TCR genes takes place, resulting in chromosome rearrangements. It has been suggested that the absolute number of these “innocent” trans-rearrangements correlates with the risk of lymphoma. The aims of this work were to assess the frequencies of rearrangements with breakpoints in TCR genes in domestic pig lymphocytes and to compare these with the frequencies of corresponding rearrangements in human lymphocytes by using fluorescence in situ hybridization with chromosome painting probes. We show that frequencies of trans-rearrangements involving TRA/TRD locus in pigs are significantly higher than the frequency of translocations with breakpoints in TRB and TRG genes in pigs and the frequencies of corresponding trans-rearrangements involving TRA/TRD locus in humans. Complex structure of the pig TRA/TRD locus with high number of potential V(D)J rearrangements compared to the human locus may account for the observed differences. Furthermore, we demonstrated that trans-rearrangements involving pig TRA/TRD locus occur at lower frequencies in γδ T cells than in αβ T lymphocytes. The decrease of the frequencies in γδ T cells is probably caused by the absence of TRA recombination during maturation of this T cell lineage. High numbers of innocent trans-rearrangements in pigs may indicate a higher risk of T-cell lymphoma than in humans.