Cloning of interleukin-4 delta2 Splice Variant (IL-4delta2) in Chimpanzee and Cynomolgus Macaque: Phylogenetic Analysis of delta2 Splice Variant Appearance, and Implications for the Study of IL-4-driven Immune Processes

Immunogenetics. 2002 Dec;54(9):635-44. doi: 10.1007/s00251-002-0510-4. Epub 2002 Nov 12.


The human interleukin-4 ( IL-4) gene produces an exon 2-lacking alternative splice variant, termed IL-4delta2, and described as a naturally occurring antagonist of IL-4-driven activity. We report the isolation of an IL-4delta2 cDNA from chimpanzee ( Pan troglodytes) bone marrow samples and cynomolgus macaque ( Macaca fascicularis) activated peripheral lymph node cells. The complete IL-4 cDNA sequence from chimpanzee is also provided for the first time. The phylogenetic analysis of several known IL-4 sequences revealed a highly conserved structure of coding regions among primates, suggesting that alternative IL-4 transcript splicing may be a process shared by other simian and potentially pro-simian species as well. Extension of the study to other mammalian species led us to the assumption that generation of IL-4 splice variants may be common to primates, lagomorphs (rabbit), and rodents of the sciuridae family (woodchuck), but is unlikely to occur in mice and rats (muridae), for which IL-4 splice variants have indeed never been described. Potential implications of alternatively spliced cytokine products with possible antagonistic or competitive inhibitory function, for the choice of suitable animal models of IL-4-regulated immune processes, are discussed. This study also indicates the importance of considering alternative splicing when defining cytokine bioassays, most particularly in the present context of transcriptomics, involving the generalization of sequence-based detection methods such as quantitative reverse transcription PCR.

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing*
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-4 / chemistry
  • Interleukin-4 / genetics*
  • Interleukin-4 / immunology*
  • Macaca / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pan troglodytes / genetics*
  • Phylogeny*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Interleukin-4

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AY130260
  • GENBANK/AY130261
  • GENBANK/AY130262