In silico identification of opossum cytokine genes suggests the complexity of the marsupial immune system rivals that of eutherian mammals.
Emily Sw Wong, Lauren J Young, Anthony T Papenfuss, Katherine Belov
Immunome Res | Published : 2006
BACKGROUND: Cytokines are small proteins that regulate immunity in vertebrate species. Marsupial and eutherian mammals last shared a common ancestor more than 180 million years ago, so it is not surprising that attempts to isolate many key marsupial cytokines using traditional laboratory techniques have been unsuccessful. This paucity of molecular data has led some authors to suggest that the marsupial immune system is 'primitive' and not on par with the sophisticated immune system of eutherian (placental) mammals. RESULTS: The sequencing of the first marsupial genome has allowed us to identify highly divergent immune genes. We used gene prediction methods that incorporate the identification..View full abstract