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Mol Immunol. 2006 Apr;43(10):1604-16. Epub 2005 Nov 9.

Characterization and expression sites of newly identified chicken collectins.

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Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Graduate School of Animal Health, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80.165, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Collectins are members of the family of vertebrate C-type lectins. They have been found almost exclusively in mammals, with the exception of chicken MBL. Because of their important role in innate immunity, we sought to identify other collectins in chicken. Using the amino acid sequences of known collectins, the EST database was searched and related to the chicken genome. Three chicken collectins were found and designated chicken Collectin 1 (cCL-1), chicken Collectin 2 (cCL-2), and chicken Collectin 3 (cCL-3), which resemble the mammalian proteins Collectin Liver 1, Collectin 11 and Collectin Placenta 1, respectively. Additionally, a lectin was found which resembled Surfactant Protein A, but lacked the collagen domain. Therefore, it was named chicken Lung Lectin (cLL). Tissue distribution analysis showed cCL-1, cCL-2 and cCL-3 are expressed in a wide range of tissues throughout the digestive, the reproductive and the lymphatic system. Similar to SP-A, cLL is mainly localized in lung tissue. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that cCL-1, cCL-2 and cCL-3 represent new subgroups within the collectin family. The newly found collectins may have an important function in avian host defence. Elucidation of the role of these pattern-recognition molecules could lead to strategies that thwart infectious diseases in poultry, which could also be beneficial for public health.

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