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J Immunol. 2002 Oct 15;169(8):4088-93.

Cutting edge: CATERPILLER: a large family of mammalian genes containing CARD, pyrin, nucleotide-binding, and leucine-rich repeat domains.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Large mammalian proteins containing a nucleotide-binding domain (NBD) and C-terminal leucine-rich repeats (LRR) similar in structure to plant disease resistance proteins have been suggested as critical in innate immunity. Our interest in CIITA, a NBD/LRR protein, and recent reports linking mutations in two other NBD/LRR proteins to inflammatory disorders have prompted us to perform a search for other members. Twenty-two known and novel NBD/LRR genes are spread across eight human chromosomes, with multigene clusters occurring on 11, 16, and 19. Most of these are telomeric. Their N termini vary, but most have a pyrin domain. The genomic organization demonstrates a high degree of conservation of the NBD- and LRR-encoding exons. Except for CIITA, all the predicted NBD/LRR proteins are likely ATP-binding proteins. Some have broad tissue expression, whereas others are restricted to myeloid cells. The implications of these data on origins, expression, and function of these genes are discussed.

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