, Volume 59, Issue 4, pp 281-293
Date: 30 Jan 2007

Phylogenetic and expression analysis of amphibian Xenopus Toll-like receptors

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An anuran amphibian, South African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis), is used to study the immune system, as it possesses a set of acquired immune system represented by T and B lymphocytes and the immunoglobulins. The acquired immune system is impaired throughout the larva and the metamorphosis stage in the amphibians. On the other hand, the role of innate immune system in the tadpole remains unclear. Recently, insect Toll protein homologues, namely, Toll-like receptors (TLRs), have been identified as sensors recognizing microbe-pattern molecules in vertebrates. Whole-genome analysis of Xenopus tropicalis supported the existence of the tlr genes in the frog. In this study, we annotated 20 frog tlr gene nucleotide sequences from the latest genome assembly version 4.1 on the basis of homology and identified cDNAs of the predicted frog TLR proteins. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the repertoire of the frog TLRs consisted of both fish- and mammalian-type TLRs. We showed that the frog TLRs are constitutively expressed in the tadpole as well as in the adult frog. Our results suggest that tadpoles are protected from microbes by the innate system that includes TLRs, despite impaired acquired immune system in tadpoles. This is the first report on the properties of TLRs in the most primitive terrestrial animals like amphibia.