Int. J. Dev. Biol. 58: 757 - 766 (2014)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.140271jr
© UPV/EHU Press

Mechanisms of amphibian macrophage development: characterization of the Xenopus laevis colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor

Leon Grayfer, Eva-Stina Edholm and Jacques Robert*

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, USA

ABSTRACT Macrophage-lineage cells are indispensable to vertebrate homeostasis and immunity. In turn, macrophage development is largely regulated through colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF1) binding to its cognate receptor (CSF1R). To study amphibian monopoiesis, we identified and characterized the X. laevis CSF1R cDNA transcript. Quantitative analysis revealed that CSF1R tissue gene expression increased with X. laevis development, with greatest transcript levels detected in the adult lung, spleen and liver tissues. Notably, considerable levels of CSF1R mRNA were also detected in the regressing tails of metamorphosing animals, suggesting macrophage involvement in this process, and in the adult bone marrow; corroborating the roles for this organ in Xenopus monopoiesis. Following animal infections with the ranavirus Frog Virus 3 (FV3), both tadpole and adult X. laevis exhibited increased kidney CSF1R gene expression. Conversely, while FV3-infected tadpoles increased their spleen and liver CSF1R mRNA levels, the FV3-challenged adults did not. Notably, FV3 induced elevated bone marrow CSF1R expression, and while stimulation of tadpoles with heat-killed E. coli had no transcriptional effects, bacterial stimulation of adult frogs resulted in significantly increased spleen, liver and bone marrow CSF1R expression. We produced the X. laevis CSF1R in recombinant form (rXlCSF1R) and determined, via in vitro cross-linking studies, that two molecules of rXlCSF1R bound the dimeric rXlCSF1. Finally, administration of rXlCSF1R abrogated the rXlCSF1-induced tadpole macrophage recruitment and differentiation as well as bacterial and FV3-elicited peritoneal leukocyte accumulation. This work marks a step towards garnering greater understanding of the unique mechanisms governing amphibian macrophage biology.


Xenopus, monopoiesis, CSF1, macrophage development, ranavirus

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