Universal PCR Amplification of Mouse Immunoglobulin Gene Variable Regions: The Design of Degenerate Primers and an Assessment of the Effect of DNA Polymerases 3' to 5' Exonuclease Activity

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J. Immunol Methods





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Degenerate primers were designed for PCR amplification of unknown mouse immunoglobulin (Ig) light (L) and heavy (H) chain variable (V) genes. Each subgroup of mouse Ig gene sequences [Kabat, E.A., Wu, T.T., Perry, H.H., Gottesman, K.S., Foeller, C., 1991. Sequences of Proteins of Immunological Interest, 5th edn. US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, NIH.] was analyzed, and highly degenerate primers in the framework one (FR1) region were designed. A single highly degenerate FR1 primer sufficed for the amplification of light chains; for heavy chains, a series of FR1 primers was used. At the same time, we assessed the effect of 3′ to 5′ exonuclease activity of DNA polymerase on the utilization of these degenerate primers. Using Taq polymerase, which lacks 3′ to 5′ exonuclease activity, we successfully amplified the Ig VL and VH genes expressed in more than a hundred monoclonal hybridoma cell lines reactive against a phosphonamidate hapten. Sequence analysis of the cloned VL and VH genes, 52 of each, showed that they are derived from multiple germline families (10 of the 17 VL families and 9 of the 14 VH families) as recently defined [Martinez, C., Lefranc, M., 1998. The mouse (Mus musculus) immunoglobulin kappa variable (IGKV) genes and joining (IGKJ) segments. Exp. Clin. Immunogenet. 15, 184.]. The universality of our primers was also demonstrated by successful amplification of other mouse hybridoma cell lines that are specific to different antigens.

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