Science & Technology
; Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Type I IFNs are considered to be the core IFN species in vertebrates because of their predominant antiviral effects. But, a puzzling question remains to be answered, as to how intronless type I IFN genes in amniotes might have evolved from intron-containing type I IFN genes in fish and amphibians. In this study, intronless and intron-containing type I IFNs were found in the amphibian model, Xenopus tropicalis, with a total of sixteen and five genes, respectively. The intronless IFNs can be divided into three subgroups, and the intron-containing ones into two subgroups, implying that a retroposition event might have occurred in amphibians, resulting in the generation of intronless type I IFN genes. Two models were tentatively proposed to explain the evolution of type I IFNs in vertebrates: in model A, fish should possess the most primitive multi-exon-containing type I IFNs, and intronless type I IFN genes in amphibians are the ancestor of modern intronless type I IFNs in amniotes; in model B, intronless type I IFN genes in X. tropicalis may just represent an independent bifurcation in this species or probably in amphibians, and intronless type I IFN genes in amniotes may have arisen from another retroposition event occurred in a transition period even when reptiles were diverged from amphibians. It is considered that the model B can reflect the current knowledge on the occurrence of intronless and intron-containing type I IFN genes in vertebrate lineages. This study thus contributes to a better understanding of the origin and evolution of type I IFNs in vertebrates, and of the occurrence of intronless I IFNs in higher vertebrates. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
National Natural Science Foundation of China(31230075
1.Chinese Acad Sci, State Key Lab Freshwater Ecol & Biotechnol, Inst Hydrobiol, Wuhan 430072, Hubei Province, Peoples R China 2.Univ Chinese Acad Sci, Beijing 100049, Peoples R China 3.Jimei Univ, Coll Fisheries, Xiamen 361021, Fujian Province, Peoples R China