The V(H) and C(H) immunoglobulin genes of swine: Implications for repertoire development

J. E. Butler, J. Sun, I. Kacskovics, W. R. Brown, P. Navarro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)


Swine have the largest number of IgG subclass genes of all species so far studied but have a single gene for IgA which occurs in two allelic forms that differ in hinge length. Swine also have constant region genes for Cμ and Cε, but lack a gene homologous to that which encodes IgD in rodents and primates, despite the otherwise high degree of sequence similarity of all other swine C (H) genes with those of humans. Swine have < 20 V(H) genes, a single J(H) and perhaps a limited number of D(H) segments. Newborn piglets show preferential V(H) and D(H) usage and may use gene conversion as a mechanism for expanding their antibody repertoire. Despite the close similarity of their Ig gene sequences to humans, swine belong to the group of animals that includes rabbits, chickens and cattle when classified on the basis of B cell development. This group, unlike rodents and humans, have a single V(H) family, use hindgut follicles early in life (rather than bone marrow throughout life) to diversify their antibody repertoire and probably all use gene conversion. It is proposed that IgD may serve a function in repertoire development in rodents and humans which is unnecessary in the chicken-lagomorph-artiodactyl group. The diversity of immunoglobulins and immunoglobulin genes among species justifies the quest of veterinary immunologists to define the system for their species of interest rather than making extrapolations from mouse and human immune systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-17
Number of pages11
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 1996


  • immunoglobulin genes
  • repertoire development
  • swine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • veterinary(all)

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