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Infect Immun 2010 Sep 01;789:3981-92. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00402-10.
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Immune defenses against Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a fungus linked to global amphibian declines, in the South African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis.

Ramsey JP , Reinert LK , Harper LK , Woodhams DC , Rollins-Smith LA .

Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is a chytrid fungus that causes the lethal skin disease chytridiomycosis in amphibians. It is regarded as an emerging infectious disease affecting diverse amphibian populations in many parts of the world. Because there are few model amphibian species for immunological studies, little is known about immune defenses against B. dendrobatidis. We show here that the South African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, is a suitable model for investigating immunity to this pathogen. After an experimental exposure, a mild infection developed over 20 to 30 days and declined by 45 days postexposure. Either purified antimicrobial peptides or mixtures of peptides in the skin mucus inhibited B. dendrobatidis growth in vitro. Skin peptide secretion was maximally induced by injection of norepinephrine, and this treatment resulted in sustained skin peptide depletion and increased susceptibility to infection. Sublethal X-irradiation of frogs decreased leukocyte numbers in the spleen and resulted in greater susceptibility to infection. Immunization against B. dendrobatidis induced elevated pathogen-specific IgM and IgY serum antibodies. Mucus secretions from X. laevis previously exposed to B. dendrobatidis contained significant amounts of IgM, IgY, and IgX antibodies that bind to B. dendrobatidis. These data strongly suggest that both innate and adaptive immune defenses are involved in the resistance of X. laevis to lethal B. dendrobatidis infections.

PubMed ID: 20584973
PMC ID: PMC2937463
Article link: Infect Immun
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: ighx XB5798883 [provisional]
Antibodies: IgY Ab1

References [+] :
Andreu, Solid-phase synthesis of PYLa and isolation of its natural counterpart, PGLa [PYLa-(4-24)] from skin secretion of Xenopus laevis. 1985, Pubmed, Xenbase