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V(D)J Recombination: Of Mice and Sharks

  • Ellen Hsu
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (volume 650)

Abstract

The adaptive immune system of jawed vertebrates is based on a vast, anticipatory repertoire of specific antigen receptors, immunoglobulins (Ig) in B-lymphocytes and T-cell receptors (TCR) in T-lymphocytes. The Ig and TCR diversity is generated by a process called V(D)J recombination, which is initiated by the RAG recombinase. Although RAG activity is very well conserved, the regulated accessibility of the antigen receptor genes to RAG has evolved with the species’ organizational structure, which differs most significantly between fishes and tetrapods. V(D)J recombination was primarily characterized in developing lymphocytes of mice and human beings and is often described as an ordered, two-stage program. Studies in rabbit, chicken and shark show that this process does not have to be ordered, nor does it need to take place in two stages to generate a diverse repertoire and enable the expression of a single species of antigen receptor per cell, a restriction called allelic exclusion.

Keywords

Gene Segment Antigen Receptor Cartilaginous Fish Immunoglobulin Light Chain Recombination Signal Sequence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen Hsu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and PharmacologyState University of New York Health Science Center at BrooklynBrooklynUSA

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