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Characterization of the cathelicidin cluster in the Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica)

Ishige, Taichiro, Hara, Hiromi, Hirano, Takashi, Kono, Tomohiro, Hanzawa, Kei
Animal science journal = 2017 v.88 no.9 pp. 1249-1257
Coturnix japonica, amino acid substitution, bone marrow, bursa of Fabricius, cathelicidins, chickens, duodenum, genes, heart, innate immunity, lungs, meat, open reading frames, proteins, tongue
The Japanese quail has several advantages as a low‐fat meat bird with high immunity against diseases. Cathelicidins (CATHs) are antimicrobial peptides that play an important role in innate immunity. The aim of this study was to characterize the CATH cluster in the Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). The Japanese quail CATH (CjCATH) cluster, contains four CATH genes, as in the chicken. The coding sequences of CjCATHs exhibited >85.3% identity to chicken CATHs. The predicted amino acid sequences of the four CjCATH genes contained the cathelin‐like domain characteristic of CATH proteins. Polymorphisms were detected in the open reading frames (ORFs) of all CjCATH sequences. Two amino acid substitutions were observed in the antimicrobial region of the mature peptide of CjCATH2, and predicted to influence peptide function. CjCATH1 is expressed in lung, heart, bone marrow and bursa of Fabricius (BF). CjCATH2 is expressed in bone marrow. CjCATH3 is expressed in lung, heart, bone marrow, BF, tongue and duodenum. CjCATHB1 is expressed in bone marrow and BF. This study is the first to characterize CATH genes in the Japanese quail, and identifies novel antimicrobial peptide sequences belonging to the cathelicidin family, which may play a role in immunity in this species.