Factsbook IG
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The Immunoglobulin FactsBook



The human IGL locus is located on the chromosome 22 [1], on the long arm, at band 22q11.2 [2]. IGL orphons have been identified on chromosomes 8 and 22. The total number of human IGL genes per haploid genome is 87-96 (93-102, if the orphons are included) of which 37-43 genes are functional.

The list of human IGL genes is available at IMGT/GENE-DB.

Human IGL locus at 22q11.2


Six IGL genes have been found outside the main locus in other chromosomal localizations corresponding to 3 chromosomal orphon sets. These genes, designated as orphons, cannot contribute to the synthesis of the immunoglobulin lambda chains, even if they have an open reading frame (ORF). Two IGLV orphons have been identified on chromosome 8 at 8q11.2 and one of them belonging to subgroup 8 has been sequenced [18]. The recent sequencing of the chromosome 22q showed that the IGL locus is localized at 6 megabases from the centromere. Two IGLC orphons and two IGLV orphons have also been characterized on 22q outside of the major IGL locus [3].

Total number of human IGL genes

The total number of human IGL genes per haploid genome is 87-96 (93-102, if the orphons are included) of which 37-43 genes are functional [19].

IG and TR number of genes: Human
Nomenclature and overview of the human immunoglobulin genes (IMGT Education)


IGLV gene nomenclature

IMGT and HUGO gene nomenclatures

Links between IMGT and Entrez Gene

Click here for a complete list of the human immunoglobulin and T cell receptor IMGT gene names (symbols). This list provides the IMGT definition (full name), the gene functionality, the IMGT accession number of the reference sequence, the number of alleles per gene, and the GDB and Entrez Gene accession ID. The table below reports entries which concern the IGL locus or groups and are found in the OMIM, and Entrez Gene genome databases, and in HUGO:

IMGT nameIMGT definition (a)OMIMEntrez GeneHUGO
IGL locusImmunoglobulin lambda locus-3535IGL@
IGLC groupImmunoglobulin lambda constant group1472203536IGLC@
IGLJ groupImmunoglobulin lambda joining group1472308217IGLJ@

(a) The locus definition is identical in IMGT, Entrez Gene and HUGO. The IMGT 'group' concept comprises genes of the major locus and of the chromosomal orphon sets, whereas the HUGO IG group symbols only refer to genes of the major locus.


Proteins encoded by the IGL locus are the immunoglobulin lambda chains. They result from the recombination (or rearrangement), at the DNA level, of two genes: IGLV and IGLJ, with deletion of the intermediary DNA to create a rearranged IGLV-J gene. The rearranged IGLV-J gene is transcribed with one of the IGLC genes and traslated into an immunoglobulin lambda chain. Translation of the variable germline genes involved in the IGLV-J rearrangements are available at Protein displays. Compared to the germline genes, the rearranged variable genes will acquire somatic mutations during the B cell differentiation in the lymph nodes, which will considerably increase their diversity. These somatic mutations can be analysed using the IMGT/V-QUEST tool. The junctions can be analysed with IMGT/JunctionAnalysis.

Alleles and mutations

Mutations which correspond to allelic polymorphisms of the functional germline IGLV, IGLJ and IGLC genes are described in Alignments of alleles [19] and Tables of alleles.


Translocations in which the human IGL locus is implicated frequently result from errors of the recombinase enzyme complexe (RAG1, RAG2, ...), responsable of the Immunoglobulin and T cell receptor V-J and V-D-J rearrangements, or from errors of the switch enzyme. IGLV or IGLJ recombination signals or isolated heptamer are observed at the breakpoints.


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