Two macrophage colony-stimulating factor genes exist in fish that differ in gene organization and are differentially expressed

Tiehui Wang, Patrick C Hanington, Miodrag Belosevic, Christopher J Secombes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


Mammalian macrophage CSF (MCSF; CSF-1) is the primary regulator of the mononuclear phagocyte lineage. We, for the first time, report the complete sequencing of five MCSF cDNAs from three fish species, rainbow trout, zebrafish, and goldfish. Despite the difference in the lengths of the MCSF transcripts, all of the fish MCSF molecules encode a signal peptide, a CSF-1 domain, a transmembrane domain, and an intracellular region. Each fish MCSF gene has a unique exon/intron structure. The primordial MCSF gene may have had a nine exon/eight intron structure. In this model, insertion of an intron in exon 6 in primitive fish created the fish type I MCSF, while the loss of this exon or part of the original exon 6 created the fish type II MCSF. Investigation of alternative splicing variants in trout suggests that no mammalian equivalent splice variants exist. The two trout MCSF genes are differentially expressed in vivo and contributed differently to the high-level expression of MCSF in spleen and head kidney. In contrast to the up-regulation of MCSF by PMA in mammals, in trout MCSF1 expression is down-regulated by PMA treatment. As in mammals, recombinant trout MCSF1 can promote the growth of head kidney leukocytes, and it up-regulates the expression of CXCR3 in head kidney macrophages, with the latter suggesting a role of MCSF in the trafficking of macrophages to sites of inflammation or injury where the CXCR3 ligands are expressed. Thus MCSF has an important role in the immune system of fish as in mammals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3310-3322
Number of pages13
JournalThe Journal of Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2008


  • alternative splicing
  • animals
  • exons
  • fishes
  • gene components
  • gene expression regulation
  • goldfish
  • immune system
  • kidney
  • leukocytes
  • macrophage colony-stimulating factor
  • macrophages
  • molecular sequence data
  • Oncorhynchus mykiss
  • protein sorting signals
  • protein structure, tertiary
  • receptors, CXCR3
  • spleen
  • zebrafish
  • molecular-cloning
  • interferon-gamma
  • Trout oncorhynchus-mykiss
  • Carassius-Auratus L.
  • rainbow-trout
  • factor-I
  • cell-line
  • M-CSF
  • inflammatory cytokine
  • kidney leukocytes


Dive into the research topics of 'Two macrophage colony-stimulating factor genes exist in fish that differ in gene organization and are differentially expressed'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this