V(D)J recombination is a major source of antigen receptor diversity and represents the only known form of site-specific DNA rearrangement in vertebrates. V(D)J recombination is initiated by specific DNA cleavage at recombinational signal sequences and requires components of the general machinery used for double-strand (DS)-break repair. The involvement of DS cleavage and repair mechanisms suggests that V(D)J recombination might be coupled to the cell cycle, as introduction or persistence of DS breaks during DNA replication or mitosis could interfere with faithful transmission of genetic information to daughter cells. Here, Weei-Chin Lin and Stephen Desiderio review recent evidence indicating that this is indeed the case and consider some biological implications of this linkage.
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