The chicken B cell compartment

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  20 Nov 1987:
Vol. 238, Issue 4830, pp. 1094-1098
DOI: 10.1126/science.3317827


A very unusual molecular mechanism is involved in generating the preimmune repertoire in the chicken bursa of Fabricius. A unique rearranged V gene is diversified through a program of segmental gene conversion with a pool of noncoding pseudogenes being used as donors. A specifically committed progenitor that originates in the embryonic bursa is responsible for long-term maintenance of the B cell population. Both these properties and the characteristics of the peripheral B cell compartment are discussed in terms of the evolution of the T and B immune systems.