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Immunology today

IgY: clues to the origins of modern antibodies.


PMID 7546196

Abstract

IgY is the functional equivalent of IgG in birds, reptiles and amphibia, but many aspects of its biology are poorly understood. Recent studies have increased awareness of the genetics and functions of this molecule, and have revealed its position as the ancestor of the uniquely mammalian antibodies IgG and IgE. Here, Greg Warr, Kathy Magor and David Higgins review current knowledge of IgY structure, function and expression in the context of the evolutionary role of this primitive immunoglobulin.