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J Immunol. 1996 Aug 15;157(4):1544-50.

A third Ig light chain gene isotype in Xenopus laevis consists of six distinct VL families and is related to mammalian lambda genes.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of South Florida College of Medicine, All Children's Hospital, St. Petersburg 33701, USA.


Xenopus laevis is a unique model for studying the ontogenetic development of immune functions. A short primer PCR amplification method was employed to amplify fragments from Xenopus genomic DNA that are related to Ig light chains and TCR. One fragment was identified that appeared to represent a novel type of light chain and was used as a probe to recover the corresponding cDNA from a spleen cDNA library. We designate these light chains type III. Using an iterative screening procedure, six families of VL genes, two distinct JL and two distinct CL sequences, were identified. In a comparison of phylogenetically diverse light chains, the type III genes align with higher vertebrate lambda genes. Southern blot hybridization analyses with genomic DNA from different animals showed the VL and CL sequences to be both diverse and polymorphic. Intrafamily sequence comparisons of VL genes revealed additional diversity. Collectively, these studies confirm the existence of a third type of light chain gene in Xenopus, establish a high degree of genetic variation in the sequences encoding the light chain V regions, and provide the most significant evidence to date for the presence of a lambda-like light chain gene at the phylogenetic level of the amphibians.

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