We have characterized the organization, complexity, and expression of the porcine (Sus scrofa domestica) immunoglobulin lambda (IGL) light chain locus, which accounts for about half of antibody light chain usage in swine, yet is nearly totally unknown. Twenty-two IGL variable (IGLV) genes were identified that belong to seven subgroups. Nine genes appear to be functional. Eight possess stop codons, frameshifts, or both, and one is missing the V-EXON. Two additional genes are missing an essential cysteine residue and are classified as ORF (open reading frame). The IGLV genes are organized in two distinct clusters, a constant (C)-proximal cluster dominated by genes similar to the human IGLV3 subgroup, and a C-distal cluster dominated by genes most similar to the human IGLV8 and IGLV5 subgroups. Phylogenetic analysis reveals that the porcine IGLV8 subgroup genes have recently expanded, suggesting a particularly effective role in immunity to porcinespecific pathogens. Moreover, expression of IGLV genes is nearly exclusively restricted to the IGLV3 and IGLV8 genes. The constant locus comprises three tandem cassettes comprised of a joining (IGLJ) gene and a constant (IGLC) gene, whereas a fourth downstream IGLJ gene has no corresponding associated IGLC gene. Comparison of individual BACs generated from the same individual revealed polymorphisms in IGLC2 and several IGLV genes, indicating that allelic variation in IGLV further expands the porcine antibody light chain repertoire.
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Acknowledgements We would like to thank Erin Babineau for excellent technical assistance, and Dr. Jane Loveland for generous review of the manuscript. This work was supported by a grant from the U.S. National Pork Board (10-139).
- Gene rearrangement
- Light chain
- Sus scrofa