Self vs non-self in avians and mammals

Xenobiotic and pathogen recognition by the immune system relies on ability to discriminate self and non-self epitopes. Throughout their maturation process, antibodies are selected in a both positive and negative manner. This allows to trigger an immune response only against foreign substances such pathogens, not in the host organism. Mammals and avians are separated by nearly 300 000 000 years of evolution. Consequently, minor changes in genome sequences between mammals are reflected by high similarity in protein primary sequences, whereas the difference between mammalian and avian proteins is much more important. This difference also creates a wider gap between self and non-self when immunizing chicken against mammalian proteins. Thereby, generating and immune response and antibodies against a human protein is more likely to succeed in a different host (chicken) rather than a similar host (mouse or rabbit). The figure above illustrates this difference. This phylogenic diversity is one part of the explanation of why our antibodies work so well. See the data for yourself. Check out the antibodies. View 3D-specific antibodies. Get your own antibody