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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Dec 21;96(26):15080-5.

A novel multigene family encodes diversified variable regions.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of South Florida College of Medicine, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, USA.


Antigen recognition in the adaptive immune response by Ig and T-cell antigen receptors (TCRs) is effected through patterned differences in the peptide sequence in the V regions. V-region specificity forms through genetically programmed rearrangement of individual, diversified segmental elements in single somatic cells. Other Ig superfamily members, including natural killer receptors that mediate cell-surface recognition, do not undergo segmental reorganization, and contain type-2 C (C2) domains, which are structurally distinct from the C1 domains found in Ig and TCR. Immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motifs that transduce negative regulatory signals through the cell membrane are found in certain natural killer and other cell surface inhibitory receptors, but not in Ig and TCR. In this study, we employ a genomic approach by using the pufferfish (Spheroides nephelus) to characterize a nonrearranging novel immune-type receptor gene family. Twenty-six different nonrearranging genes, which each encode highly diversified V as well as a V-like C2 extracellular domain, a transmembrane region, and in most instances, an immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif-containing cytoplasmic tail, are identified in an approximately 113 kb P1 artificial chromosome insert. The presence in novel immune-type receptor genes of V regions that are related closely to those found in Ig and TCR as well as regulatory motifs that are characteristic of inhibitory receptors implies a heretofore unrecognized link between known receptors that mediate adaptive and innate immune functions.

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