Previous studies (21) have shown that two mouse kappa light (L) chain variable (V) region polymorphisms, the IB-peptide and Efla markers, reflect expression of a characteristic group of V kappa regions, called V kappa Ser, by some inbred strains and not others. Expression of V kappa Ser is controlled by a locus on chromosome 6, the chromosome that contains the kappa locus. To further characterize this V kappa group and begin to analyze the basis for its strain-specific expression, full-length complementary DNA (cDNA) copies were produced of L chain mRNA from the M75 myeloma that had been induced in the C.C58 strain of mice, and which produces a V kappa Ser L chain. The C.C58 strain is congenic with BALB/cAn, differing in the region of chromosome 6 that controls expression of the V kappa polymorphisms and the Lyt-2 and Lyt-3 T cell alloantigens. The complete nucleotide sequence of this cloned cDNA was determined and compared with the nucleotide sequences the most closely related BALB/c myeloma L chains known. Results indicated significant differences throughout the variable region, but particularly toward the 5' portion of the sequence. A probe corresponding to 200 bp of the 5' end of the cloned V kappa Ser cDNA was used in Southern hybridizations of restriction digests of liver DNA from a number of inbred, recombinant, and recombinant inbred strains. Under stringent hybridization conditions, one strongly-hybridizing fragment was observed in Bam HI, Hind III, and Eco RI digests, and based on the size of the fragments, strains could be organized into two groups. The presence of strongly hybridizing Bam HI, Hind III, and Eco RI fragments of 3.2, 2.8, and 2.1 kb, respectively, was found to correlate completely with expression by the strain of the IB-peptide and Efla markers. All nonexpressor strains yielded hybridizing fragments of 7.8, 8.4, and 2.8 kb, respectively. Possible explanations for strain-specific expression of V kappa Ser-associated phenotypic markers are discussed.

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