Dr. Amy Kenter
My laboratory has been focused on the molecular mechanism of antigen receptor rearrangements for many years. We designed the first assay for detection of double strand breaks in S regions of B cells induced for class switch recombination (CSR). My lab discovered transcription factors bound to S region which may modulate isotype specific recombination. More recently we have examined the chromatin structure of the Igh locus in the context of CSR. These studies have revealed that chromatin conformation is a critical regulator of CSR. Furthermore, we found that RNA polymerase pausing is intrinsic to the mechanism of CSR. Current studies focus on the structure of the Igh locus and the molecular mechanism of locus contraction to facilitate V(D)J rearrangements. We have identified specific long range interactions between transcriptional elements and other architectural elements at multiple stages of B cell development. These looping interactions serve to configure the locus and enforce proximity between VH and DHJH gene segments. Furthermore, we have studied the Igh locus chromatin configuration in non-B and pro-B cells using chromosome conformation capture (3C) based assays and 3D FISH. Finally, we have been involved in developing computational tools to predict 3D chromatin interactions from pairwise 3C based data sets.