To further analyze the VDJ recombination defect in lymphoid pre-B cells from mice with severe combined immune deficiency (scid mice), we have assayed the ability of Abelson murine leukemia virus (A-MuLV) transformed pre-B cells from scid mice to rearrange a recombination substrate in which inverted VH to DJH joins activate a selectable (gpt) gene. In unselected populations, substrate rearrangements occurred frequently, but were aberrant and probably analogous to the aberrant rearrangements observed at endogenous scid Ig gene loci. In contrast, populations of scid pre-B lines selected for gpt activity within the substrate contained mostly "normal" VH to DJH joins within the introduced substrate. These findings demonstrate that scid pre-B cells can make normal joins at low efficiency and are discussed with respect to the potential mechanism of the scid defect and the occurrence of Igs in leaky scid mice.

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