Rag1andrag2gene expressions identify lymphopoietic tissues in juvenile and adult Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus)

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Rag1 and rag2 are two closely linked recombination activating genes required for V(D)J recombination of antigen receptors in immature lymphocytes, whose expression can serve as marker to identify the lymphopoietic tissues. To study the development of lymphopoietic tissues in Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus), the Chinese giant salamander rag1 and rag2 coding sequences were cloned and determined. High transcript levels of rag1 and rag2 were co-detected in the thymus before 14 months of age, whereas levels were lower in spleen, liver and kidney at all stage of development. The spatial expression patterns of rag1 and rag2 were studied in combination with igY and tcrβ gene expression using in situ hybridization. Significant transcript signals for rag1, rag2, tcrβ and igY were detected not only in the thymus and spleen but also the liver and kidney of juvenile and adult Chinese giant salamanders, which suggests that cells of lymphocyte lineage are present in multiple tissues of the Chinese giant salamander. This implies that lymphopoiesis may take place in these tissues. The tissue morphology of thymus suggested that the branched thymic primordium developed into mature organ with the development of thymocyte from juvenile to adult. These results not only confirm that as expected the thymus and spleen are primordial lymphopoietic tissues but also suggest that the liver and kidney provide site of lymphocyte differentiation in Chinese giant salamander.

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