U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type



Immunogenetics (2021) 73:187–201



U.S. government work


Goats and cattle diverged 30 million years ago but retain similarities in immune system genes. Here, the caprine T cell receptor (TCR) gene loci and transcription of its genes were examined and compared to cattle. We annotated the TCR loci using an improved genome assembly (ARS1) of a highly homozygous San Clemente goat. This assembly has already proven useful for describing other immune system genes including antibody and leucocyte receptors. Both the TCRγ (TRG) and TCRδ (TRD) loci were similarly organized in goats as in cattle and the gene sequences were highly conserved. However, the number of genes varied slightly as a result of duplications and differences occurred in mutations resulting in pseudogenes. WC1+ γδ T cells in cattle have been shown to use TCRγ genes from only one of the six available cassettes. The structure of that Cγ gene product is unique and may be necessary to interact with WC1 for signal transduction following antigen ligation. Using RT-PCR and PacBio sequencing, we observed the same restriction for goat WC1+ γδ T cells. In contrast, caprine WC1+ and WC1− γδ T cell populations had a diverse TCRδ gene usage although the propensity for particular gene usage differed between the two cell populations. Noncanonical recombination signal sequences (RSS) largely correlated with restricted expression of TCRγ and δ genes. Finally, caprine γδ T cells were found to incorporate multiple TRD diversity gene sequences in a single transcript, an unusual feature among mammals but also previously observed in cattle.