We have compared the microsequence specificity of mutations introduced during somatic hypermutation (SH) and those introduced meiotically during neutral evolution. We have minimized the effects of selection by studying nonproductive (hence unselected) Ig V region genes for somatic mutations and processed pseudogenes for meiotic mutations. We find that the two sets of patterns are very similar: the mutabilities of nucleotide triplets are positively correlated between the somatic and meiotic sets. The major differences that do exist fall into three distinct categories: 1) The mutability is sharply higher at CG dinucleotides under meiotic but not somatic mutation. 2) The complementary triplets AGC and GCT are much more mutable under somatic than under meiotic mutation. 3) Triplets of the form WAN (W = T or A) are uniformly more mutable under somatic than under meiotic mutation. Nevertheless, the relative mutabilities both within this set and within the SAN (S = G or C) triplets are highly correlated with those under meiotic mutation. We also find that the somatic triplet specificity is strongly symmetric under strand exchange for A/T triplets as well as for G/C triplets in spite of the strong predominance of A over T mutations. Thus, we suggest that somatic mutation has at least two distinct components: one that specifically targets AGC/GCT triplets and another that acts as true catalysis of meiotic mutation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy