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Cephalochordates, urochordates, and vertebrates evolved from a common ancestor over 520 million years ago. To improve our understanding of chordate evolution and the origin of vertebrates, we intensively searched for particular genes, gene families, and conserved noncoding elements in the sequenced genome of the cephalochordate Branchiostoma floridae,(More)
Instead of the immunoglobulin-type antigen receptors of jawed vertebrates, jawless fish have variable lymphocyte receptors (VLRs), which consist of leucine-rich repeat (LRR) modules. Somatic diversification of the VLR gene is shown here to occur through a multistep assembly of LRR modules randomly selected from a large bank of flanking cassettes. The(More)
Although jawless vertebrates are apparently capable of adaptive immune responses, they have not been found to possess the recombinatorial antigen receptors shared by all jawed vertebrates. Our search for the phylogenetic roots of adaptive immunity in the lamprey has instead identified a new type of variable lymphocyte receptors (VLRs) composed of highly(More)
Lampreys are representatives of an ancient vertebrate lineage that diverged from our own ∼500 million years ago. By virtue of this deeply shared ancestry, the sea lamprey (P. marinus) genome is uniquely poised to provide insight into the ancestry of vertebrate genomes and the underlying principles of vertebrate biology. Here, we present the first lamprey(More)
We report the sequence and analysis of the 814-megabase genome of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, a model for developmental and systems biology. The sequencing strategy combined whole-genome shotgun and bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) sequences. This use of BAC clones, aided by a pooling strategy, overcame difficulties associated with(More)
Variable lymphocyte receptors (VLRs) are leucine-rich repeat proteins that mediate adaptive immunity in jawless vertebrates. VLRs are fundamentally different from the antibodies of jawed vertebrates, which consist of immunoglobulin (Ig) domains. We determined the structure of an anti-hen egg white lysozyme (HEL) VLR, isolated by yeast display, bound to HEL.(More)
Lamprey are members of the ancestral vertebrate taxon (jawless fish), which evolved rearranging antigen receptors convergently with the jawed vertebrates. But instead of Ig superfamily domains, lamprey variable lymphocyte receptors (VLRs) consist of highly diverse leucine-rich repeats. Although VLRs represent the only known adaptive immune system not based(More)
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