Expression of immune-related genes in the oyster Crassostrea gigas during ontogenesis

Dev Comp Immunol. 2007;31(9):859-73. doi: 10.1016/j.dci.2007.01.005. Epub 2007 Feb 20.


The work presented here reports the expression of immune-related genes during ontogenesis in the oyster Crassostrea gigas. Expression patterns of 18 selected genes showed that RNAs detected in oocytes and 2-4 cell embryos are of maternal origin and that gene transcription starts early after fertilization. The expression patterns of 4 genes (Cg-timp, Cg-tal, Cg-EcSOD and Drac3) suggested that hemocytes appear in the gastrula-trochophore stages. The localization of Cg-tal expression suggested that hematopoietic cells were derived from vessels and/or artery endothelia cells. Moreover, a bacterial challenge affected the level of expression of genes. Indeed, a change in expression levels was observed for Cg-LBP/BPI, Cg-timp, Drac3 and Cg-MyD88 genes in larval stages upon exposure to non-pathogenic bacteria. In early juveniles, a modulation was also observed for Cg-LBP/BPI, Cg-timp, Cg-MyD88 and for Cg-tal, according to the concentration of bacteria. Altogether, the results showed that studying the appearance of immunocompetent cells through their ability to express immune-related genes is a tool to gain insight the ontogenesis of the oyster immune system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Diseases / genetics
  • Animal Diseases / microbiology
  • Animal Diseases / pathology
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Infections / genetics
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Bacterial Infections / pathology
  • Crassostrea / embryology
  • Crassostrea / genetics*
  • Crassostrea / growth & development
  • Crassostrea / immunology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics*
  • Male
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Superoxide Dismutase / genetics
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases / genetics
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases / metabolism
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / genetics
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism
  • rac GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • rac GTP-Binding Proteins