The gene

The gene that codes for the constant portion of the S chain is located downstream of the p, gene. In the mouse it consists of three exons (Csl, Cs2 and CR3) that code for the body of the 5 chain, plus three small exons that code for the C-terminus of the secreted (8s) or the membrane form of the 8 chain (8M1 and 8M2); all these are separated from Cs3. It is noteworthy that there is no switch region upstream of C81. The simultaneous synthesis of p and 8 chains, with the same variable region, by one given B cell occurs by the production of a transcript that includes both the p. and the 8 genes, followed by alternate splicing to produce separate p and 8 mRNAs. When B cells mature to an IgM-secreting plasma cell, transcription usually stops after the p gene and therefore the 8 message is not included in the transcript. Alternatively, when the B cell matures to an IgD-secreting plasma cell (a relatively rare event), the p gene is deleted.

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