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Nat Immunol. 2010 Sep;11(9):827-35. doi: 10.1038/ni.1913. Epub 2010 Aug 1.

IgT, a primitive immunoglobulin class specialized in mucosal immunity.

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Department of Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Teleost fish are the most primitive bony vertebrates that contain immunoglobulins. In contrast to mammals and birds, these species are devoid of immunoglobulin A (IgA) or a functional equivalent. This observation suggests that specialization of immunoglobulin isotypes into mucosal and systemic responses took place during tetrapod evolution. Challenging that paradigm, here we show that IgT, an immunoglobulin isotype of unknown function, acts like a mucosal antibody. We detected responses of rainbow trout IgT to an intestinal parasite only in the gut, whereas IgM responses were confined to the serum. IgT coated most intestinal bacteria. As IgT and IgA are phylogenetically distant immunoglobulins, their specialization into mucosal responses probably occurred independently by a process of convergent evolution.

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