Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 28882611
J. Immunol. Methods 2017 12;451:71-77
Antigen receptor gene assembly is accomplished in developing lymphocytes by the V(D)J recombination reaction, which can be separated into two steps: DNA cleavage by the recombination-activating gene (RAG) nuclease and joining of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) by components of the nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) pathway. Deficiencies for NHEJ factors can result in immunodeficiency and a propensity to accumulate genomic instability, thus highlighting the importance of identifying all players in this process and deciphering their functions. Bcl2 transgenic v-Abl kinase-transformed pro-B cells provide a pseudo-physiological cellular system to study V(D)J recombination. Treatment of v-Abl/Bcl2 pro-B cells with the Abl kinase inhibitor Imatinib leads to G1 cell cycle arrest, the rapid induction of Rag1/2 gene expression and V(D)J recombination. In this system, the Bcl2 transgene alleviates Imatinib-induced apoptosis enabling the analysis of induced V(D)J recombination. Although powerful, the use of mouse models carrying the Bcl2 transgene for the generation of v-Abl pro-B cell lines is time and money consuming. Here, we describe a method for generating v-Abl/Bcl2 pro-B cell lines from wild type mice and for performing gene knock-out using episomal CRISPR/Cas9 targeting vectors. Using this approach, we generated distinct NHEJ-deficient pro-B cell lines and quantified V(D)J recombination levels in these cells. Furthermore, this methodology can be adapted to generate pro-B cell lines deficient for any gene suspected to play a role in V(D)J recombination, and more generally DSB repair.