Interleukins are a group of cytokines with complex immunomodulatory functions that are important for regulating immunity in vertebrate species. Reptiles and mammals last shared a common ancestor more than 350 million years ago, so it is not surprising that low sequence identity has prevented divergent interleukin genes from being identified in the central bearded dragon lizard, Pogona vitticeps, in its genome assembly. To determine the complete nucleotide sequences of key interleukin genes, we constructed full-length transcripts, using the Trinity platform, from short paired-end read RNA sequences from stimulated spleen cells. De novo transcript reconstruction and analysis allowed us to identify interleukin genes that are missing from the published P. vitticeps assembly. Identification of key cytokines in P. vitticeps will provide insight into the essential molecular mechanisms and evolution of interleukin gene families and allow for characterization of the immune response in a lizard for comparison with mammals.
LIVERNOIS, A., HARDY, K., DOMASCHENZ, R., Papanicolaou, A., GEORGES, A., SARRE, S., RAO, S., EZAZ, T., & DEAKIN, J. (2016). Identification of interleukin genes in Pogona vitticeps using a de novo transcriptome assembly from RNA-seq data. Immunogenetics, 68(9), 719-731. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00251-016-0922-1