The proposed studies build on the findings that interactive T- and B-like lymphocytes are basic features of the adaptive immune system of both jawless and jawed vertebrates, although jawless vertebrates (lampreys and hagfish) generate variable lymphocyte receptors (VLR) for antigen recognition by recombinatorial conversion of incomplete germline VLR genes (VLRA, VLRB and VLRC) into fully assembled VLR genes using diverse leucine-rich-repeat (LRR) donor sequences. Recent studies indicate that VLRA assembly and expression coincides with expression of cytidine deaminase 1 (CDA1) only within the lymphoepithelial thymoid gill region, whereas VLRB and CDA2 expression occurs primarily in hematopoietic tissues. A comprehensive analysis is proposed to elucidate the development, distribution and function of the lamprey VLRA and VLRC lymphocyte lineages in comparison with the B cell-like VLRB lymphocytes to test the hypothesis that the VLRA and VLRC lineages represent agnathan T cell analogues of gnathostome 1/2 and 3/4 T cells with allorecognition responsibility. A long term goal is to identify the lamprey histocompatibility antigens to test the hypothesis that VLRA and VLRC recognize these to achieve self versus non-self discrimination. The first specific aim is to define the distribution, antigen-binding and functional responses of the VLRA +, VLRB+ and VLRC+ lymphocytes and to modulate VLRA and VLRC cell function by treatment with VLR-specific antibodies to gain insight into the function and cooperative potential of the lymphocyte lineages. The second specific aim is to purify the VLRA+, VLRB+ and VLRC+ lymphocyte populations and perform a comparative analysis of each of their transcriptomes to obtain information about the differential expression of cytokines, chemokines, cytokine/chemokine receptors, cytolytic components, VLR co-receptor candidates, co-stimulatory molecules, signaling elements, and transcription factors for the three types of lymphocyte in their quiescent and activated states. The third specific aim is to characterize the allogeneic recognition and response capabilities of VLRA+, VLRB+ and VLRC+ lymphocytes. Pilot in vivo and in vitro studies indicate that the VLRA+ and VLRC+ lymphocytes preferentially respond to allogeneic white blood cells. The stimulatory cell types will be identified, the cellular participants will also be defined for skin allograft rejections, and the modulatory effects of VLRA- and VLRB-specific antibodies will be determined. Gene expression profiles and VLR sequences will be compared for alloantigen-responsive versus non-responsive lymphocytes. VLRB alloantibodies will be induced and VLRA and VLRC receptors from the alloantigen responding cells will be engineered to form secreted chimeric proteins for use in histocompatibility antigen detection. Candidate histocompatibility genes will be examined for genetic polymorphism, expression patterns and immunostimulatory potential.

Public Health Relevance

These studies will yield insight into the basic evolutionary principles of self versus non-self recognition in vertebrates. They will also elucidate the functional interactions between the T and B cell arms of the lamprey immune system to facilitate development of lamprey VLRB antibodies for biomedical purposes by serving as unique diagnostic reagents for identifying infectious agents and cancer cells.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Cellular and Molecular Immunology - B Study Section (CMIB)
Program Officer
Marino, Pamela
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Emory University
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Das, Sabyasachi; Sutoh, Yoichi; Hirano, Masayuki et al. (2016) Characterization of Lamprey BAFF-like Gene: Evolutionary Implications. J Immunol 197:2695-703
Han, Qifeng; Das, Sabyasachi; Hirano, Masayuki et al. (2015) Characterization of Lamprey IL-17 Family Members and Their Receptors. J Immunol 195:5440-51
Das, Sabyasachi; Li, Jianxu; Hirano, Masayuki et al. (2015) Evolution of two prototypic T cell lineages. Cell Immunol 296:87-94
Altman, Meghan O; Bennink, Jack R; Yewdell, Jonathan W et al. (2015) Lamprey VLRB response to influenza virus supports universal rules of immunogenicity and antigenicity. Elife 4:
Holland, Stephen J; Gao, Mingming; Hirano, Masayuki et al. (2014) Selection of the lamprey VLRC antigen receptor repertoire. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111:14834-9
Das, Sabyasachi; Li, Jianxu; Holland, Stephen J et al. (2014) Genomic donor cassette sharing during VLRA and VLRC assembly in jawless vertebrates. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111:14828-33
Smith, Jeramiah J; Kuraku, Shigehiro; Holt, Carson et al. (2013) Sequencing of the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) genome provides insights into vertebrate evolution. Nat Genet 45:415-21, 421e1-2
Hirano, Masayuki; Guo, Peng; McCurley, Nathanael et al. (2013) Evolutionary implications of a third lymphocyte lineage in lampreys. Nature 501:435-8
Das, Sabyasachi; Hirano, Masayuki; Aghaallaei, Narges et al. (2013) Organization of lamprey variable lymphocyte receptor C locus and repertoire development. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110:6043-8
Lada, Artem G; Stepchenkova, Elena I; Waisertreiger, Irina S R et al. (2013) Genome-wide mutation avalanches induced in diploid yeast cells by a base analog or an APOBEC deaminase. PLoS Genet 9:e1003736

Showing the most recent 10 out of 14 publications