Epigenetic regulation of monoallelic rearrangement (allelic exclusion) of antigen receptor genes

Rena Levin-Klein, Yehudit Bergman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

21 Scopus citations


While most genes in the mammalian genome are transcribed from both parental chromosomes in cells where they are expressed, approximately 10% of genes are expressed monoallelically, so that any given cell will express either the paternal or maternal allele, but not both. The antigen receptor genes in B and T cells are well-studied examples of a gene family, which is expressed in a monoallelic manner, in a process coined "allelic exclusion." During lymphocyte development, only one allele of each antigen receptor undergoes V(D)J rearrangement at a time, and once productive rearrangement is sensed, rearrangement of the second allele is prevented. In this mini review, we discuss the epigenetic processes, including asynchronous replication, nuclear localization, chromatin condensation, histone modifications, and DNA methylation, which appear to regulate the primary rearrangement of a single allele, while blocking the rearrangement of the second allele.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number625
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Issue numberDEC
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Levin-Klein and Bergman.


  • Asynchronous replication
  • DNA methylation
  • Hematopoietic development
  • Immunoglobulin
  • V(D)J recombination


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