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Dev Comp Immunol. 2007;31(9):859-73. Epub 2007 Feb 20.

Expression of immune-related genes in the oyster Crassostrea gigas during ontogenesis.

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UMR5171, IFREMER, CNRS, UMII, Génome Populations Interactions Adaptation (GPIA), Université de Montpellier II, 2 Place Eugène Bataillon, CC80, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 5, France.


The work presented here reports the expression of immune-related genes during ontogenesis in the oyster Crassostrea gigas. Expression patterns of 18 selected genes showed that RNAs detected in oocytes and 2-4 cell embryos are of maternal origin and that gene transcription starts early after fertilization. The expression patterns of 4 genes (Cg-timp, Cg-tal, Cg-EcSOD and Drac3) suggested that hemocytes appear in the gastrula-trochophore stages. The localization of Cg-tal expression suggested that hematopoietic cells were derived from vessels and/or artery endothelia cells. Moreover, a bacterial challenge affected the level of expression of genes. Indeed, a change in expression levels was observed for Cg-LBP/BPI, Cg-timp, Drac3 and Cg-MyD88 genes in larval stages upon exposure to non-pathogenic bacteria. In early juveniles, a modulation was also observed for Cg-LBP/BPI, Cg-timp, Cg-MyD88 and for Cg-tal, according to the concentration of bacteria. Altogether, the results showed that studying the appearance of immunocompetent cells through their ability to express immune-related genes is a tool to gain insight the ontogenesis of the oyster immune system.

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