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Dev Comp Immunol. 2008;32(3):204-12. Epub 2007 Jun 18.

Striking antigen recognition diversity in the Atlantic salmon T-cell receptor alpha/delta locus.

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  • 1Centre for Biomedical Research, University of Victoria, PO Box 3020 STN CSC, Victoria, BC, Canada V8W 3N5.


The complete TCR alpha/delta locus of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) has been characterized and annotated. In the 900 kb TCR alpha/delta locus, 292 Valpha/delta segments and 123 Jalpha/delta segments were identified. Of these, 128 Valpha/delta, 113 Jalpha, and a Jdelta segment appeared to be functional as they lacked frame shifts or stop codons. This represents the largest repertoire of Valpha/delta and Jalpha segments of any organism to date. The 128 functional Valpha/delta segments could be grouped into 29 subgroups based upon 70% nucleotide similarity. Expression data confirmed the usage of the diverse repertoire found at the genomic level. At least 99 Valpha, 13 Vdelta 86 Jalpha, 1 Jdelta, and 2 Ddelta segments were used in TCR alpha or delta transcription, and 652 unique genes were identified from a sample of 759 TCRalpha cDNA clones. Cumulatively, the genomic and expression data suggest that the Atlantic salmon T-cell receptor has enormous capacity to recognize a wide diversity of antigens.

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