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Keywords:

  • comparative immunology;
  • developmental immunology;
  • evolution of immunity;
  • genomics

Abstract

Xenopus laevis is the model of choice for evolutionary, comparative, and developmental studies of immunity, and invaluable research tools including MHC-defined clones, inbred strains, cell lines, and monoclonal antibodies are available for these studies. Recent efforts to use Silurana (Xenopus) tropicalis for genetic analyses have led to the sequencing of the whole genome. Ongoing genome mapping and mutagenesis studies will provide a new dimension to the study of immunity. Here we review what is known about the immune system of X. laevis integrated with available genomic information from S. tropicalis. This review provides compelling evidence for the high degree of similarity and evolutionary conservation between Xenopus and mammalian immune systems. We propose to build a powerful and innovative comparative biomedical model based on modern genetic technologies that takes take advantage of X. laevis and S. tropicalis, as well as the whole Xenopus genus. Developmental Dynamics 238:1249–1270, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.