The Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) has limited diversity in the immunoglobulin heavy chain. We therefore investigated the antigen receptor loci of the other arm of the adaptive immune system: the T cell receptor. Manatees are the first species from Afrotheria, a basal eutherian superorder, to have an in-depth characterization of all T cell receptor loci. By annotating the genome and expressed transcripts, we found that each chain has distinct features that correlates to their individual functions. The genomic organization also plays a role in modulating sequence conservation between species. There were extensive V subgroup synteny blocks in the TRA and TRB loci between T. m. latirostris and human. Increased genomic locus complexity correlated to increased locus synteny. We also identified evidence for a VHD pseudogene for the first time in a eutherian mammal. These findings emphasize the value of including species within this basal eutherian radiation in comparative studies.
Keywords: Evolution; Manatee; Synteny blocks; T cell receptor; VHD.
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