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Immunogenetics. 2010 Feb;62(2):117-22. doi: 10.1007/s00251-009-0416-5. Epub 2009 Dec 12.

Developmental and tissue-specific expression of NITRs.

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Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences and Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, 4700 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA.


Novel immune-type receptors (NITRs) are encoded by large multi-gene families and share structural and signaling similarities to mammalian natural killer receptors (NKRs). NITRs have been identified in multiple bony fish species, including zebrafish, and may be restricted to this large taxonomic group. Thirty-nine NITR genes that can be classified into 14 families are encoded on zebrafish chromosomes 7 and 14. Herein, we demonstrate the expression of multiple NITR genes in the zebrafish ovary and during embryogenesis. All 14 families of zebrafish NITRs are expressed in hematopoietic kidney, spleen and intestine as are immunoglobulin and T cell antigen receptors. Furthermore, all 14 families of NITRs are shown to be expressed in the lymphocyte lineage, but not in the myeloid lineage, consistent with the hypothesis that NITRs function as NKRs. Sequence analyses of NITR amplicons identify known alleles and reveal additional alleles within the nitr1, nitr2, nitr3, and nitr5 families, reflecting the recent evolution of this gene family.

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