It is generally accepted that living jawless vertebrates (lampreys and hagfishes) lack the capability of mounting an adaptive immune response. At the same time, however, there are reports describing histological evidence for the presence in agnathan tissues of lymphocytes, the key players in adaptive immunity. The question therefore arises whether the cells identified morphologically as lymphocytes are true lymphocytes in terms of their genetic developmental program. In this study, evidence is provided that the lampreys express a member of the purine box 1 (PU.1)/spleen focus-forming virus integration B (Spi-B) gene family known to be critically and specifically involved in the differentiation of lymphocytes in jawed vertebrates. The lamprey gene is expressed in the lymphocyte-like cells of the digestive tract and inexplicably also in the ovary.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jun 20 2000|
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