Isolation and characterization of lymphocyte-like cells from a lamprey

Werner E. Mayer, Tatiana Uinuk-ool, Herbert Tichy, Lanier A. Gartland, Jan Klein, Max D. Cooper

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128 Scopus citations


Lymphocyte-like cells in the intestine of the sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus, were isolated by flow cytometry under light-scatter conditions used for the purification of mouse intestinal lymphocytes. The purified lamprey cells were morphologically indistinguishable from mammalian lymphocytes. A cDNA library was prepared from the lamprey lymphocyte-like cells, and more than 8,000 randomly selected clones were sequenced. Homology searches comparing these ESTs with sequences deposited in the databases led to the identification of numerous genes homologous to those predominantly or characteristically expressed in mammalian lymphocytes, which included genes controlling lymphopoiesis, intracellular signaling, proliferation, migration, and involvement of lymphocytes in innate immune responses. Genes closely related to those that in gnathostomes control antigen processing and transport of antigenic peptides could be ascertained, although no sequences with significant similarity to MHC, T cell receptor, or Ig genes were found. The data suggest that the evolution of lymphocytes in the lamprey has reached a stage poised for the emergence of adaptive immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14350-14355
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number22
StatePublished - Oct 29 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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