Early Postnatal B Cell Ontogeny and Antibody Repertoire Maturation in the Opossum, Monodelphis domestica

Xinxin Wang; Sharp, Alana R.; Miller, Robert D.; Boudinot, Pierre
September 2012
PLoS ONE;Sep2012, Vol. 7 Issue 9, Special section p1
Academic Journal
Marsupials are a lineage of mammals noted for giving birth to highly altricial young, which complete much of their "fetal" development externally attached to a teat. Postnatal B cell ontogeny and diversity was investigated in a model marsupial species, the gray short-tailed opossum, Monodelphis domestica. The results support the initiation of B cell development late in gestation and progressing into the first two weeks of postnatal life. Transcription of CD79a and CD79b was detected in embryonic tissue prior to birth, while immunoglobulin heavy chain locus transcription was not detected until the first postnatal 24 hours. Transcription of the Ig light chains was not detected until postnatal day 7 at the earliest. The predicted timing of the earliest appearance of mature B cells and completion of gene rearrangements is consistent with previous analyses on the timing of endogenous antibody responses in newborn marsupials. The diversity of early B cell IgH chains is limited, as has been seen in fetal humans and mice, but lacks bias in the gene segments used to encode the variable domains. Newborn light chain diversity is, from the start, comparable to that of the adult, consistent with an earlier hypothesis that light chains contribute extensively to antibody diversity in this species.


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