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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e59577. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059577. Epub 2013 Mar 18.

The Turkey Ig-like receptor family: identification, expression and function.

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  • 1Institute for Animal Physiology, Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Munich, Munich, Germany.


The chicken leukocyte receptor complex located on microchromosome 31 encodes the chicken Ig-like receptors (CHIR), a vastly expanded gene family which can be further divided into three subgroups: activating CHIR-A, bifunctional CHIR-AB and inhibitory CHIR-B. Here, we investigated the presence of CHIR homologues in other bird species. The available genome databases of turkey, duck and zebra finch were screened with different strategies including BLAST searches employing various CHIR sequences, and keyword searches. We could not identify CHIR homologues in the distantly related zebra finch and duck, however, several partial and complete sequences of CHIR homologues were identified on chromosome 3 of the turkey genome. They were designated as turkey Ig-like receptors (TILR). Using cDNA derived from turkey blood and spleen RNA, six full length TILR could be amplified and further divided according to the typical sequence features into one activating TILR-A, one inhibitory TILR-B and four bifunctional TILR-AB. Since the TILR-AB sequences all displayed the critical residues shown to be involved in binding to IgY, we next confirmed the IgY binding using a soluble TILR-AB1-huIg fusion protein. This fusion protein reacted with IgY derived from various gallinaceous birds, but not with IgY from other bird species. Finally, we tested various mab directed against CHIR for their crossreactivity with either turkey or duck leukocytes. Whereas no staining was detectable with duck cells, the CHIR-AB1 specific mab 8D12 and the CHIR-A2 specific mab 13E2 both reacted with a leukocyte subpopulation that was further identified as thrombocytes by double immunofluorescence employing B-cell, T-cell and thrombocyte specific reagents. In summary, although the turkey harbors similar LRC genes as the chicken, their distribution seems to be distinct with predominance on thrombocytes rather than lymphocytes.

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