Evolution of immune receptors

New cDNA cloning strategy identifies protochordate genes containing immunoglobulin-like variable regions.

Tudor Toma
Nov 5, 2002

The evolutionary origin of adaptive immune receptors is difficult to study below the phylogenetic level of the jawed vertebrates because PCR methods yield a high number of artefacts. In November 4 Nature Immunology, John Cannon and colleagues at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida, USA, show that a new strategy for selective cloning of cDNAs identifies diversified genes that contain immunoglobulin-like variable regions in a species lacking an adaptive immune response (Nature Immunology, doi:10.1038/ni849, November 4, 2002).

Cannon et al. developed a plasmid-based selection vector, that they termed Amptrap, and developed a cloning strategy using this vector that requires only minimal information about the gene of interest. They then analyzed DNA from amphioxus (Branchiostoma floridae) — a protochordate species that lacks an adaptive immune system — and identified multiple gene families having immunoglobulin-like variable (V) regions and which also possess...

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