At least two regions of the mouse kappa immunoglobulin gene are necessary for appropriate transcription. One is located within the J-C intron; another is located 5′ of the transcription start site in all variable region gene segments and contains a highly conserved octanucleotide sequence, ATTTGCAT. Trans-acting nuclear factors have been thought to interact with these regions on the basis of studies with transient transfection of modified immunoglobulin genes into lymphoid and fibroblast cell lines. Using a sensitive gel electrophoresis DNA binding assay, we have found nuclear factors that bind to these two regulatory regions of the kappa gene. Two patterns of specific binding of nuclear factors to DNA sequences containing the J-C intron enhancer were observed. One pattern was seen in cell lines which do not express immunoglobulin, while a different pattern was observed in cell lines which actively transcribe light chain genes. We also find factors which bind to the octanucleotlde containing 5' sequence which are distinct from those which bind the J-C enhancer region.
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