Comparative Biology of the α2-Macroglobulin-Based Immune System

  • P. B. Armstrong
  • J. P. Quigley
Part of the Advances in Comparative and Environmental Physiology book series (COMPARATIVE, volume 24)


Most multicellular organisms are subject during their lives to a nearly continual challenge by pathogenic microorganisms and multicellular parasites. In response, a variety of immune processes have evolved to suppress pathogens that have invaded the body. Some of these immune processes are phylogenetically unique. Perhaps the best-known example is the induced antibody response based on VDJ gene rearrangement of the immunoglobulin heavy and light chain genes, which apparently is present only in the vertebrates (Marchalonis and Schluter 1990). Other immune systems, such as the prophenoloxidase system (Söderhäll and Smith 1986), lysozyme (Engström et al. 1985), the pentraxins (Tennent et al. 1993), and α2-macroglobulin (Armstrong and Quigley 1995), are of more ancient origin, because they are present in modern representatives of diverse animal phyla. This chapter reviews the role of the α2-macroglobulin system in immunity.


Horseshoe Crab Cytolytic Activity Comparative Biology Thiol Ester Glutamyl Residue 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. B. Armstrong
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. P. Quigley
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Molecular and Cellular BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Marine Biological LaboratoryWoods HoleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pathology, Health Sciences CenterState University of New YorkUSA

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