Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Pharr, G. Todd

Committee Member

Petrie-Hanson, Lora

Committee Member

McCarthy, Fiona

Committee Member

Pinchuk, M. Lesya

Committee Member

Branton, L. Scott

Other Advisors or Committee Members

Pruett, Stephen B.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Veterinary Medical Science

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Veterinary Medicine


Department of Basic Sciences


B cell development in chicken takes place in a specific primary lymphoid organ, the bursa of Fabricius. The bursa is considered to provide a microenvironment that promotes B lymphocyte survival and maturation. The most important maturation step in the bursa is the immunoglobulin (Ig) gene conversion, a process that is responsible for immunoglobulin repertoire in avian species. The Ig-gene conversion is strictly regulated, and only progenitors that are able to initiate the process will develop into fully functional B lymphocytes. In this study the late embryonic B lymphocyte stages are investigated, the bursal stem cell stage and the onset of Ig-gene conversion stage. Previous studies identified functional and phenotypic differences between the two stages, showing high rate of proliferation at both, but a significant increase in apoptotic activity at the onset of gene conversion stage. The molecular basis behind the initiation of Ig-gene conversion is not well understood. Here two approaches are presented to provide information on the B lymphocyte developmental process. In chapter II proteomic analysis of the two cell stages was performed. The proteins were sorted into functional groups and signal transductions pathways were identified that are associated with proliferation, differentiation, cell adhesion and apoptosis. The project identified differences in protein profiles that might explain the changes in B lymphocyte physiology and bursal microenvironment at the initiation of Ig-gene conversion. In chapter III the antigen recognized by a bursal secretory dendritic cell specific monoclonal antibody, GIIF3 was identified and cloned. The antigen was shown to be expressed by bursal secretory dendritic cells only during the late embryonic period. The antigen was identified as smooth muscle gamma actin. Futher work will investigate what role the gene plays in dendritic cell funtion.