AT11-2, an Abelson virus-transformed cell line has DJH complexes on both chromosomes and is able to form functional variable region genes by the joins of VH genes to the DJH complexes during culture. Therefore we examined which VH gene family was used in functional VH to DJH recombinations in AT11-2. Surprisingly, of 32 independent functional VH to DJH recombinational events in AT11-2, 31 events used the VH segments of the VHQ52 family, and the remaining one used the VH segment of the VH7183 family. Thus, we describe here the first B precursor cell line that almost selectively uses the VHQ52 family in functional VH to DJH rearrangements. The selective use of the VHQ52 family in this B precursor cell line strongly indicates nonrandom use of VH gene families, and the existence of a stage at which the VHQ52 family is preferentially used during the normal development of early pre-B cells and has important implications for understanding the ontogeny of VH repertoire development. Furthermore, this cell line should prove extremely valuable in further studies of this kind.

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