The molecular basis of allorecognition in ascidians

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The process of allorecognition consists of an ability to discriminate self from non-self. This discrimination is used either to identify non-self cells and reject them ("non-self histocompatibility") or to identify self cells and reject them (as in the avoidance of self-fertilization by hermaphrodites ("self incompatibility"). The molecular basis governing these two distinct systems has been studied recently in hermaphroditic ascidian urochordates. Harada et al. postulated two highly polymorphic self-incompatibility loci, Themis (A and B), that are transcribed from both strands, forward to yield sperm (s-) trans-membrane antigen, and reverse to yield the egg vitelline coat (v-) receptor. De Tomaso et al. characterized a candidate histocompatibility locus, encoding a highly variable immunoglobulin. Nyholm et al. isolated its candidate allorecognition receptor, fester. Only a minute similarity was found in the structure of the genes involved. It appears that ascidian harbor two very separate types of labeling and recognition genetic systems: one for self and the other for non-self.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1048-1051
Number of pages4
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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