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Immunology. Dec 1994; 83(4): 517–523.
PMCID: PMC1415061

A novel multi-gene family of sheep gamma delta T cells.


The WC1 protein is a cell surface constituent of bovine gamma delta T cells and is absent from most or all CD4+, CD8+ T cells and from B cells. It is a single polypeptide chain of 1413 amino acids consisting of 11 non-identical repeats of a 110 amino acid consensus sequence, homologous to the macrophage scavenger receptor cysteine rich (SRCR) domain. A 1059 nucleotide segment of the bovine WC1 cDNA sequence was used as a probe to molecularly clone homologous DNA segments from a sheep genomic library in which the presence of numerous positive plaques was documented. The high representation of such recombinants (1-2/1000 clones) within the library suggested the existence of multiple genes for WC1 (called T19 in sheep) and supported Southern blotting data which revealed an unexpectedly high number of WC1/T19 restriction fragments in sheep genomic DNA. Restriction digests of 27 samples of T19 genomic recombinants were examined by electrophoresis and Southern blotting. All but two pairs of recombinants exhibited non-overlapping restriction digest patterns. Four recombinant DNA samples were partially sequenced and in all cases putative exons were identified and exhibited high homology to appropriate segments of the WC1 cDNA at the levels of both nucleotide and amino acid sequence. Furthermore, multiple nucleotide and amino acid differences occurred between all sequences compared, establishing the existence of a repertoire of non-identical T19 genes, each with the potential to encode a different protein.

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