Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 431–439 | Cite as

The CD8α gene in duck (Anatidae): cloning, characterization, and expression during viral infection

  • Qi Xu
  • Yang Chen
  • Wen Ming Zhao
  • Zheng Yang Huang
  • Xiu Jun Duan
  • Yi Yu Tong
  • Yang Zhang
  • Xiu Li
  • Guo Bin Chang
  • Guo Hong ChenEmail author


Cluster of differentiation 8 alpha (CD8α) is critical for cell-mediated immune defense and T-cell development. Although CD8α sequences have been reported for several species, very little is known about CD8α in ducks. To elucidate the mechanisms involved in the innate and adaptive immune responses of ducks, we cloned CD8α coding sequences from domestic, Muscovy, Mallard, and Spotbill ducks using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Each sequence consisted of 714 nucleotides and encoded a signal peptide, an IgV-like domain, a stalk region, a transmembrane region, and a cytoplasmic tail. We identified 58 nucleotide differences and 37 amino acid differences among the four types of duck; of these, 53 nucleotide and 33 amino acid differences were between Muscovy ducks and the other duck species. The CD8α cDNA sequence from domestic duck consisted of a 61-nucleotide 5′ untranslated region (UTR), a 714-nucleotide open reading frame, and an 849-nucleotide 3′ UTR. Multiple sequence alignments showed that the amino acid sequence of CD8α is conserved in vertebrates. RT-PCR revealed that expression of CD8α mRNA of domestic ducks was highest in the thymus and very low in the kidney, cerebrum, cerebellum, and muscle. Immunohistochemical analyses detected CD8α on the splenic corpuscle and periarterial lymphatic sheath of the spleen. CD8α mRNA in domestic ducklings was initially up-regulated, and then down-regulated, in the thymus, spleen, and liver after treatment with duck hepatitis virus type I (DHV-1) or the immunostimulant polyriboinosinic polyribocytidylic acid (poly I:C).


CD8α Duck Gene cloning Gene expression Viral infection 



We are grateful to Prof. Peng DX and Dr. Chen SJ (Yangzhou University) for their suggestions and technical assistance. This work was supported financially by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31101704), Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (BK20141275) and the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (2011-137).

Conflict of interest

The authors have declared that no conflict of interest exists.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qi Xu
    • 1
  • Yang Chen
    • 1
  • Wen Ming Zhao
    • 1
  • Zheng Yang Huang
    • 1
  • Xiu Jun Duan
    • 2
  • Yi Yu Tong
    • 1
  • Yang Zhang
    • 1
  • Xiu Li
    • 1
  • Guo Bin Chang
    • 1
  • Guo Hong Chen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Animal Genetics and Breeding and Molecular Design of Jiangsu ProvinceYangzhou UniversityYangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Chinese Waterfowl Germplasm Resource PoolTaizhouPeople’s Republic of China

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