Th2 immunity is a primary host defence against metazoan pathogens and two of the important cytokines involved in this immune response in mammals are IL-4 and IL-13. Recently the origin and evolution of Th2 immune responses have been investigated in fish where a molecule with relatedness to both IL-4 and IL-13 is present, termed IL-4/13. Different IL-4/13 paralogues (IL-4/13 A and IL-4/13B) exist in teleost fish. In this paper, we have focused on the IL-4/13 isoforms found in the European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.). Two tandem duplicated but divergent IL-4/13 A isoforms and one IL-4/13B are present, a unique situation compared to other teleosts. These genes were studied in terms of their in vitro and in vivo transcript levels after different treatments and their biological activities after production of the recombinant isoforms. The results show that the presence of these three paralogues is associated with different activities, both in terms of their expression profiles and the ability of the proteins to modulate the expression of immune genes in head kidney leukocytes. It is clear that the initiation and control of type-2 responses in seabass is complex due to the presence of multiple IL-4/13 isoforms with overlapping but distinct activities.
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