Evolutionary Divergence of Immunoglobulin Constant Region Genes
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The development of the humoral immune response over evolutionary time has resulted in the occurrence of numerous immunoglobulin gene products in animal serum. The variable region gene products which are now known to be responsible for providing the distinct combining specificities that are required for interacting with the multitude of antigens a given individual encounters in its lifetime (1) are of obvious importance in this regard. Genetic complexity also exists on another level in the humoral response, however, albeit less pronounced. This complexity is presented at the level of constant region genes. The precise extent of this diversity is not yet clear, especially in any complete phylogenetic context since extensive information concerning the question is available at present only for higher species, particularly mammals. While this information has provided much knowledge regarding the extent of constant region diversity in these higher species, and may show us the highest degree of such divergence that has yet occurred in the biological world, the data obviously can speak only for a limited spectrum of the animal kingdom.
KeywordsHorseshoe Crab Constant Region Amino Acid Sequence Analysis Myeloma Protein Immunoglobulin Molecule
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