[Frontiers in Bioscience 15, 348-358, January 1, 2010]

Expression of immune genes during metamorphosis of Xenopus: a survey

Nicolas Pollet1,2,3

1Epigenomics Project, Genopole®, CNRS, Univ Evry, Tour Evry2 10eme 523 Terrasses de l'Agora, F-91034 Evry, France, 2CNRS UMR 8080, F-91405 Orsay, France, 3Laboratoire Developpement, Morphogenese et Evolution, Univ Paris Sud, F-91405 Orsay, France


1. Abstract
2. Introduction
3. Amphibian metamorphosis and the immune system
3.1. Why study the expression of immune genes during metamorphosis of Xenopus ?
3.2. What is so special about metamorphosis and the immune system ?
4. Neuroendocrine control of metamorphosis
5. What we know so far
5.1. Innate immunity gene expression
5.1.1. Antimicrobial peptides
5.1.2. Natural Killer cells and their receptors
5.2. Acquired immunity gene expression
5.2.1. B and T-cell ontogeny
5.2.2. MHC and metamorphosis
5.2.3. Hormonal regulations
6. What we can gather from mining genomic data
7. Summary and perspectives
8. Acknowledgement
9. References


This review focuses on what is known about the immune transcriptome during metamorphosis of Xenopus laevis and Silurana (Xenopus) tropicalis. This subject is of importance to obtain a global understanding of the physiological changes operating during metamorphosis. In turn, a good knowledge of the physiology of amphibian metamorphosis may contribute to the fight against amphibian decline and help the development of alternative toxicologic assays. By examining what is known on the expression of innate and adaptive immune genes during metamorphosis, it becomes clear that our knowledge of the anatomy of the tadpole "immunome" is fragmentary. Since a wealth of data sits in cDNA sequences, I am making a first attempt to enrich our knowledge on this subject. I exemplify that mining EST data can rapidly provide us with the necessary tools to unravel the cross-talk between thyroid hormone signalling during metamorphosis and larval immune system changes.