Mechanisms by which transcription can regulate somatic hypermutation

Barbara E. Wright, K. H. Schmidt, M. F. Minnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Mechanisms for somatic hypermutation (SHM) have proven elusive. An actively transcribed substrate was analyzed to elucidate the role of stem-loop structures (SLSs) in SHM. Analysis with a new computer algorithm indicates that the location and mutability of a base are regulated by: (a) the extent to which it is unpaired, (b) the degree to which it is exposed by stabilization of SLSs containing and flanking it, and (c) the level of transcription that drives supercoiling, which creates and stabilizes SLSs containing unpaired bases vulnerable to mutation. New mechanisms are described by which transcription can differentially stabilize SLSs harboring targeted bases and establish specific base exposure patterns. Assuming that transcription levels correlate with the magnitude of superhelicity induced and the lengths of ssDNA forming SLSs, this analysis accounts for the location of all mutable bases during SHM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-182
Number of pages7
JournalGenes and Immunity
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2004


  • DNA secondary structures
  • Somatic hypermutation
  • Supercoiling
  • Transcription


Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanisms by which transcription can regulate somatic hypermutation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this