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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Nov 15;90(22):10603-7.

Isolation of a shark immunoglobulin light chain cDNA clone encoding a protein resembling mammalian kappa light chains: implications for the evolution of light chains.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Miami School of Medicine, FL 33101.


The time of emergence of immunoglobulin kappa and lambda light (L) chains in evolution is unknown. An L chain cDNA clone was isolated from the nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum), a cartilaginous fish, whose predicted variable (V) region amino acid sequence has up to 60% sequence identity to mammalian V kappa domains. Genomic analyses suggest a cluster-type gene organization for this L chain locus, similar to the shark lambda-like immunoglobulin L chain loci rather than mammalian kappa loci. We propose that divergence of the ancestral L chain into isotypes likely occurred before the emergence of elasmobranchs 400-450 million years ago. Similarities in gene organization between the two isotypes in sharks may reflect the gene organization utilized by the ancestral L chain.

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