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Immunol Rev June 1, 2000; 175 201-13.

B-cell development in the amphibian Xenopus.

Du Pasquier L , Robert J , Courtet M , Mussmann R .

The amphibian Xenopus and mammals have similar organization and usage of their immunoglobulin gene loci with combinatorial joining of V, D and J elements. The differences in B-cell development between mammals and this amphibian are due to major differences in developmental kinetics, cell number and lymphoid organ architecture. Unlike mammals, the immune system of Xenopus develops early under pressure to develop quickly and to produce a heterogeneous repertoire before lymphocyte numbers reach 5,000, thereby imposing a limitation on clonal amplification. In addition, it is submitted to metamorphosis. Thus, during the early antigen-independent period, several features of B-cell development related to immune diversification are under strict genetically preprogramed control: 1) D reading frames contribute complementary determining region 3 with features that occur in mammals by somatic selection, 2) the temporal stepwise utilization of V(H) genes in Xenopus occur in families probably because of structural DNA features rather than their position in the locus. Larval and adult immune responses differ in heterogeneity. Larval rearrangements lack N diversity. During the course of immune responses, somatic mutants are generated at the same rate as in other vertebrates but are not optimally selected, probably due to the simpler organization of the lymphoid organs, with neither lymph nodes nor germinal centers resulting in poor affinity maturation. Switch from IgM to other isotypes is mediated by loop-excision deletion of the IgM constant region gene via switch regions which, unlike their mammalian counterpart, are A-T rich and reveal conserved microsites for the breakpoints.

PubMed ID: 10933604
Article link: Immunol Rev

Genes referenced: ighx

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