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Göbel, Thomas W. F.; Chen, Chen-Lo H.; Lahti, Jill; Kubota, Takayuki; Kuo, Chia-Lam; Aebersold, Ruedi; Hood, Leroy; Cooper, Max D. (1994): Identification of T-cell receptor a-chain genes in the chicken. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 91, No. 3: pp. 1094-1098


T-cell receptor (TCR) -chain (TCR) and ß-chain (TCRß) genes are well characterized in mammals, while only TCRß genes have been identified in other vertebrates. To identify avian TCR genes, we used monoclonal anti-CD3 antibodies to isolate chicken TCR for peptide sequence analysis. Degenerate oligonucleotide probes were then used to isolate a candidate TCR cDNA clone that hybridized with a 1.7-kb mRNA species present only in ß T cells and in tissues populated by these cells. Southern blot analysis revealed gene rearrangement in thymocytes and ß T-cell lines. The TCR cDNA candidate encoded an openreading frame of 275 amino acids, the predicted variable (V)-, joining (J)-, and constant (C)-region amino acid sequences of which shared 40%, 60%, and 25% homology with corresponding mammalian sequences. A single C gene and 25 V genes were identified by using region-specific probes. The V cDNA probe isolated from a Vß1+ cell line reacted with transcripts from one of five Vß2+ cell lines, suggesting shared use of V genes by Vß1+ and Vß2+ T cells and the existence of other V gene families. A genomic V sequence was flanked by classical recombination signal sequences but, unlike previously defined V genes, the leader and V region were encoded by a single exon. The data indicate evolutionary conservation of the basic TCR gene structure in birds and mammals