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Dev Comp Immunol. 2011 Feb;35(2):151-4. doi: 10.1016/j.dci.2010.09.012. Epub 2010 Oct 13.

Induction of transposase and polyprotein RNA levels in disseminated neoplastic hemocytes of soft-shell clams: Mya arenaria.

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Department of Pathology and Microbiology, Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC), University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, PE, Canada C1A 4P3.


In Prince Edward Island, a high mortality of soft-shell clams Mya arenaria was found to be related to the disease known as disseminated neoplasia (DN). However, the molecular mechanisms by which hemocytes of clams are transformed in the course of DN remain by far unknown. This study aims at identifying the transcripts involved in the development of the disease. Four subtractive cDNA sequence libraries were generated and more than 200,000 reads were obtained. Following similarity searches in genome databases, the transcripts were assigned to cellular functions including mitochondrial respiration, structural proteins, cytoskeleton, nucleic acid regulation, general metabolism, signal transduction, apoptosis, cell cycle regulation, as well as virus transcripts. The expression levels of transposase and polyprotein genes were evaluated in clams with various percentages of tetraploid hemocytes. Data have shown that expression levels were significantly higher in clams with a high percentage of tetraploid hemocytes. These results reinforce the hypothesis of endogenous retrotransposon involvement in the etiology of the disease. Further investigations are needed, however, to elucidate the role of transposase and polyprotein in the disease development.

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