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J Immunol. 1992 Aug 1;149(3):855-61.

Chicken IgA H chains. Implications concerning the evolution of H chain genes.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, Turku University, Finland.


A cDNA clone (A1) encoding for a novel chicken Ig H chain isotype was isolated. In sequence comparison to mammalian H chains, A1 C region was most closely related to the alpha isotype. For example, identities of 35%, 32%, and 31% at the amino acid level to rabbit C alpha, C mu, and C gamma were observed, respectively. Distribution of the glucosamine acceptor sites (Asn-X-Ser/Thr) in A1 C region was typical of alpha H chains. Moreover, A1 C region probe hybridized to a 2.2-kb RNA species expressed in the epithelial lymphoid tissues. Thus, A1 was identified as the avian homologue for mammalian alpha H chains. Interestingly, the chicken C alpha was structurally consistent with four complete CH domains, whereas only three domains are present in the mammalian C alpha genes. In addition, interdomain sequence alignments suggested that the homologue for the chicken C alpha 2 domain is missing from the mammalian alpha H chains. Thus, the present data suggest evolution of the IgA isotype before the segregation of avian and mammalian species. Also, the first C alpha gene may have consisted of four CH domains, whereas reorganization of the C alpha 2 region led to the generation of hinge region in the mammalian alpha H chains.

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