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Dev Comp Immunol. 2013 Dec;41(4):657-65. doi: 10.1016/j.dci.2013.07.023. Epub 2013 Aug 6.

Anti-viral immune responses in a primitive lung: characterization and expression analysis of interferon-inducible immunoproteasome subunits LMP2, LMP7 and MECL-1 in a sarcopterygian fish, the Nigerian spotted lungfish (Protopterus dolloi).

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Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology (CETI), Department of Biology, MSC03 2020, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.


Lungfishes (Dipnoi) represent the closest ancestor of tetrapods. Dipnoi have dual breathing modes extracting oxygen from water and air. The primitive lungs of lungfishes are exposed to external antigens including viruses. To date, the immune response of lungfishes against viruses has not been investigated. During viral immune responses, cell exposure to type I interferon induces the replacement of the constitutive proteasome with LMP2, LMP7 and MECL-1 beta subunits forming the immunoproteasome and enhancing antigen presentation to MHC class I molecules. In order to study the immune defense system of the lungfish lung, we have characterized for the first time the three immunoproteasome subunits in the sarcopterygian fish, the Nigerian spotted lungfish (Protopterus dolloi). LMP2, LMP7 and MECL-1 were identified in P. dolloi and their sequences encoded predicted proteins of 216, 275 and 278 amino acids, respectively. The mRNA of these three genes was expressed in multiple tissues, including the lung, with the highest abundance observed in kidney and post-pyloric spleen. In vitro stimulation of lungfish lung and kidney primary cell cultures with PolyI:C for 4 and 12 h resulted in increased LMP2, LMP7 and MECL-1 expression in both tissues. These results suggest a central role of these genes in the activation of an antiviral immune response in lungfish. Importantly, they indicate that the primitive lung of the common ancestor of all tetrapods is capable of inducing the expression of these genes in response to viral stimulation.


Immunoproteasome; LMP2; LMP7; Lung; Lungfish; MECL-1

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