Identification and characterization of Fugu orthologues of mammalian interleukin-12 subunits
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We have isolated and characterized cDNAs and genes for pufferfish, Fugu rubripes, (Fugu) orthologues of mammalian interleukin (IL)-12 subunits (IL-12 p35 and IL-12 p40). The deduced amino acid sequences of the Fugu IL-12 subunits showed homology with mammalian IL-12 subunits (p35: 50.4–58.0% similarity; p40: 51.2–55.4% similarity). Phylogenetic analysis confirmed that Fugu IL-12 p35 and p40 genes cluster with their mammalian counterpart lineages. The genomic organization of each of the Fugu IL-12 subunit genes is similar to that of the corresponding mouse IL-12 subunit genes, although the Fugu genes are very compact due to small intron size. Comparative genomic analysis showed conserved syntenies within the IL-12 p35 and p40 regions between Fugu and human, indicating that the Fugu IL-12 p35 and p40 genes are orthologues for mammalian IL-12 p35 and p40 encoding genes, respectively. Expression of IL-12 p35 mRNA was observed in lymphoid tissues and several non-lymphoid tissues, while expression of IL-12 p40 mRNA was constitutive and nearly ubiquitous. In the spleen and head kidney, expression of IL-12 p35 was induced by polyriboinosinic polyribocytidylic acid [poly(I:C)] and not by lipopolysaccharide (LPS), while expression of IL-12 p40 was constitutive and unresponsive to both poly(I:C) and LPS. These results indicate that IL-12 levels are regulated by production of IL-12 p35 mRNA and suggest that IL-12 in fish may be involved in antiviral defense. This is the first report of the identification and characterization of IL-12 subunit cDNAs and genes in a non-mammalian vertebrate.
KeywordsFugu Cytokine IL-12 Synteny Comparative immunology
This work was supported by a grant-in-aid from the Recombinant Cytokine Project provided by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Japan (RCP; 2003-2240). We express our thanks to Dr. James D. Moore, Bodega Marine Laboratory, USA, for reading the manuscript. We thank Dr. J.M. Dijkstra, National Research Institute of Aquaculture, Fisheries Research Agency, for his useful suggestions.
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