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Immunogenetics. 2000 Sep;51(11):915-23.

Characterization of three isotypes of immunoglobulin light chains and T-cell antigen receptor alpha in zebrafish.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Children's Research Institute, St. Petersburg 33701, USA.


The zebrafish (Danio rerio) has become a significant model for understanding the developmental regulation of gene expression and holds considerable potential for characterizing the development of the immune system. Using a number of different approaches, including heterologous hybridization and short-primer PCR, cDNAs for three different classes of light-chain genes were identified and characterized. The zebrafish light chains are similar to trout type 1, trout type 2, and catfish type F, respectively. T-cell antigen receptor alpha (TCRalpha) was also identified and characterized. A high proportion of unusual transcripts including sterile transcripts, germline VJC transcripts, aberrant splice forms, and V-V transcripts were encountered in the immunoglobulin and TCR cDNAs examined. The light-chain and TCRalpha loci each consist of multiple families of V gene segments, apparent even from the small numbers of cDNAs of each isotype sequenced. The gene sequences reported provide an essential set of markers of both B- and T-cell lineages that will facilitate investigations of immune system development.

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