Genomic organization and adaptive evolution of IGHC genes in marine mammals

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Abstract

Immunoglobulins are important elements of the adaptive immune system that bind to an immense variety of microbial antigens to neutralize infectivity and specify effector functions. In the present study, the immunoglobulin heavy chain constant region (IGHC) genes from marine mammals were identified and compared with those of their terrestrial relatives to explore their genomic organization and evolutionary characteristics. The genomic organization of marine mammal IGHC genes was shown to be conservative with other eutherian mammals. Stronger signals of positive selection on IGHC were revealed in terrestrial mammals than that in marine mammals with the branch-site model, displaying different selective pressure, which might suggest their divergent adaptations to contrasted environments.

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