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Evolution of antigen binding receptors

Litman­, Gary W. and Anderson, Michele K. and Rast­, ­Jonathan P. (1999) Evolution of antigen binding receptors. Annual Review of Immunology, 17 . pp. 109-147. ISSN 0732-0582. doi:10.1146/annurev.immunol.17.1.109.

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This review addresses issues related to the evolution of the complex multigene families of antigen binding receptors that function in adaptive immunity. Advances in molecular genetic technology now permit the study of immunoglobulin (Ig) and T cell receptor (TCR) genes in many species that are not commonly studied yet represent critical branch points in vertebrate phylogeny. Both Ig and TCR genes have been defined in most of the major lineages of jawed vertebrates, including the cartilaginous fishes, which represent the most phylogenetically divergent jawed vertebrate group relative to the mammals. Ig genes in cartilaginous fish are encoded by multiple individual loci that each contain rearranging segmental elements and constant regions. In some loci, segmental elements are joined in the germline, i.e. they do not undergo genetic rearrangement. Other major differences in Ig gene organization and the mechanisms of somatic diversification have occurred throughout vertebrate evolution. However, relating these changes to adaptive immune function in lower vertebrates is challenging. TCR genes exhibit greater sequence diversity in individual segmental elements than is found in Ig genes but have undergone fewer changes in gene organization, isotype diversity, and mechanisms of diversification. As of yet, homologous forms of antigen binding receptors have not been identified in jawless vertebrates; however, acquisition of large amounts of structural data for the antigen binding receptors that are found in a variety of jawed vertebrates has defined shared characteristics that provide unique insight into the distant origins of the rearranging gene systems and their relationships to both adaptive and innate recognition processes.

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Additional Information:© 1999 by Annual Reviews. We would like to thank Chris Amemiya, Louis Du Pasquier, Martin Flajnik, Robert Haire, Noel Hawke, Kasia Katevuo, Carl Luer, Ann Miracle, Tatsuya Ota, David Schatz, Scott Strong, Gregory Warr, and Jeffrey Yoder for sharing their unpublished findings and their valuable comments. We would also like to thank Michael Sexton for his assistance with the figures and Barbara Pryor for editorial assistance. This work was supported by Grant R37 AI23338 to GWL from the National Institutes of Health. MKA is supported by the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. JPR is supported by an NRSA Grant GM 18478.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NIHR37 AI23338
Stowers Institute for Medical ResearchUNSPECIFIED
NIHGM 18478
Subject Keywords:vertebrate phylogeny; immunoglobulin; T cell antigen receptors; adaptive immunity; gene rearrangement
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:LITari99
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Official Citation:Evolution of antigen binding receptors. Gary W. Litman Michele K. Anderson and and Jonathan P. Rast. Annual Review of Immunology 1999 17:1, 109-147; doi: 10.1146/annurev.immunol.17.1.109
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1479
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:23 Jan 2006
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 19:10

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