An Ancestral Immune Surveillance System in the Amphibian Xenopus Connecting Certain Heat Shock Proteins with Classical and Nonclassical MHC Class I Molecules

  • Jacques Robert
  • Maureen Banach
  • Eva-Stina Edholm


Studies in the amphibian Xenopus, a vertebrate species that diverged from a common ancestor with mouse and human more than 350 million years ago, provide evolutionary insights into the convergent roles of certain hsps such as gp96 and HSP70 as well as classical and nonclassical MHC class I molecules in cancer immune surveillance. Evidence that in Xenopus gp96 and HSP70 can elicit potent antitumor responses dependent on antigen representation by nonclassical MHC class Ib molecules and presumably involving innate T cells suggests the existence of an ancestral immune surveillance system in antigen-presenting cells such as macrophages integrating hsps with classical and nonclassical MHC molecules. The particular connection revealed in Xenopus between hsps and nonclassical MHC molecules presenting conserved patterns to innate T cells affords new avenues to develop therapeutic strategies against cancer.


Comparative immunology Innate T cells Tumor immunity Evolution Unconventional T cells 



We would like to thank Dr. Edith Lord for critical reading of the manuscript. This work was supported by a R24-AI-059830 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH/NIAID) and from the Kesel Fund of Rochester Area Community Foundation, Rochester, NY. M.B. was supported by a predoctoral fellowship Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral F31 (F31CA192664) from the National Cancer Institute (NIH/NCI). E-S.E. was supported by the National Science Foundation IOS-1456213 and a 2015 Career in Immunology Fellowship from the American Association of Immunologists.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacques Robert
    • 1
  • Maureen Banach
    • 1
  • Eva-Stina Edholm
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyUniversity of Rochester Medical CenterRochesterUSA

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