Uhlenhuth (1903)1 was the first to recognize that lens proteins of all vertebrate classes share some common antigenic groups. This property of lens tissue is referred to as organ specificity. For many other tissues, however, species specificity predominates and cross-reactions occur only among closely related animals.
Of the different lens proteins α-crystallin is generally regarded as showing the greatest degree of organ specificity.2,3 Furthermore, the immunoelectrophoretic studies of Manski et al,4 using anti-human cataract serum, revealed that the decreasing number of cross-reactions with nonmammalian lenses involved only the β- and γ-crystallins, except in the case of fish where it involved α-crystallin as well. The latter observation suggests that α-crystallin has undergone some change during evolution.
The data reported in this study using antisera specific for lens α-crystallin will show that this conservative protein has indeed been modified at each class level of the phylogenetic scale.
MAISEL H. The Serological Specificity of Lens Alpha-Crystallin. Arch Ophthalmol. 1964;72(6):829–831. doi:10.1001/archopht.1964.00970020831019
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