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PLoS One. 2013 Dec 27;8(12):e83984. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083984. eCollection 2013.

Characterizing the infection-induced transcriptome of Nasonia vitripennis reveals a preponderance of taxonomically-restricted immune genes.

Author information

1
Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America.
2
Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, United States of America.
3
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, United States of America.

Abstract

The innate immune system in insects consists of a conserved core signaling network and rapidly diversifying effector and recognition components, often containing a high proportion of taxonomically-restricted genes. In the absence of functional annotation, genes encoding immune system proteins can thus be difficult to identify, as homology-based approaches generally cannot detect lineage-specific genes. Here, we use RNA-seq to compare the uninfected and infection-induced transcriptome in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis to identify genes regulated by infection. We identify 183 genes significantly up-regulated by infection and 61 genes significantly down-regulated by infection. We also produce a new homology-based immune catalog in N. vitripennis, and show that most infection-induced genes cannot be assigned an immune function from homology alone, suggesting the potential for substantial novel immune components in less well-studied systems. Finally, we show that a high proportion of these novel induced genes are taxonomically restricted, highlighting the rapid evolution of immune gene content. The combination of functional annotation using RNA-seq and homology-based annotation provides a robust method to characterize the innate immune response across a wide variety of insects, and reveals significant novel features of the Nasonia immune response.

PMID:
24386321
PMCID:
PMC3873987
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0083984
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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