Bats comprise 20% of all mammals, yet little is known about their immune system and virtually nothing about their immunoglobulin genes. We show that four different bat species transcribe genes encoding IgM, IgE, IgA and IgG subclasses, the latter which have diversified after speciation; the canonical pattern for eutherian mammals. IgD transcripts were only recovered from insectivorous bats and were comprised of CH1, CH3 and two hinge exons; the second hinge exon was fused to CH3. IgA in all species resembles human IgA2 with the putative cysteine forming the bridge to the light chain found at position 77. Sequence comparisons yielded no evidence for a diphyletic origin of the suborders. Bats show no close similarity to another mammalian order; the strongest association was with carnivores. Data reveal that CH diversity and VDJ and CDR3 organization are similar to other eutherian mammals, although the expressed VH3 family repertoire was unusually diverse.
- Immunoglobulin genes