To test the hypothesis that DNA polymerase ζ participates in Ig hypermutation, we generated two mouse models of Pol ζ function: a B cell-specific conditional knockout and a knock-in strain with a Pol ζ mutagenesis-enhancing mutation. Pol ζ-deficient B cells had a reduction in mutation frequency at Ig loci in the spleen and in Peyer's patches, whereas knock-in mice with a mutagenic Pol ζ displayed a marked increase in mutation frequency in Peyer's patches, revealing a pattern that was similar to mutations in yeast strains with a homologous mutation in the gene encoding the catalytic subunit of Pol ζ. Combined, these data are best explained by a direct role for DNA polymerase ζ in Ig hypermutation.
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