Evolution of interleukin-1β

Steven Bird, Jun Zou, Tiehui Wang, Barry Munday, Charlie Cunningham, Christopher J Secombes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

229 Citations (Scopus)


All jawed vertebrates possess a complex immune system, which is capable of anticipatory and innate immune responses. Jawless vertebrates possess an equally complex immune system but with no evidence of an anticipatory immune response. From these findings it has been speculated that the initiation and regulation of the immune system within vertebrates will be equally complex, although very little has been done to look at the evolution of cytokine genes, despite well-known biological activities within vertebrates. In recent years, cytokines, which have been well characterised within mammals, have begun to be cloned and sequenced within non-mammalian vertebrates, with the number of cytokine sequences available from primitive vertebrates growing rapidly. The identification of cytokines, which are mammalian homologues, will give a better insight into where immune system communicators arose and may also reveal molecules, which are unique to certain organisms. Work has focussed on interleukin-1 (IL-1), a major mediator of inflammation which initiates and/or increases a wide variety of non-structural, function associated genes that are characteristically expressed during inflammation. Other than mammalian IL-1beta sequences there are now full cDNA sequences and genomic organisations available from bird, amphibian, bony fish and cartilaginous fish, with many of these genes having been obtained using an homology cloning approach. This review considers how the IL-1beta gene has changed through vertebrate evolution and whether its role and regulation are conserved within selected non-mammalian vertebrates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-502
Number of pages20
JournalCytokine & Growth Factor Reviews
Issue number6
Early online date19 Oct 2002
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd.


  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Cytokines
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-18
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


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