Altmann, S.M., Mellon, M.T., Johnson, M.C., Paw, B.H., Trede, N.S., Zon, L.I., and Kim, C.H. (2004) Cloning and characterization of an Mx gene and its corresponding promoter from the zebrafish, Danio rerio. Developmental and comparative immunology. 28(4):295-306.
Type I interferons (IFNs) represent a crucial component of the innate immune response to viruses. An important downstream effector of IFN is the Mx gene, which is activated solely through this pathway. Mx proteins are characterized by a tripartite GTP-binding domain, dynamin family signature, and leucine zipper motif. Mx genes are transcribed upon activation of an interferon-stimulated response element (ISRE) located in the Mx promoter region. In this article, we describe the cloning and analysis of an Mx gene and its corresponding promoter from the zebrafish (Danio rerio). The deduced amino acid sequence of zebrafish Mx contains the conserved GTP-binding domain, dynamin family signature, and leucine zipper motif common to Mx proteins, and shows a 50% identity to human MxA and 69% identity both to rainbow trout and to Atlantic salmon. Zebrafish liver cells produced high levels of Mx mRNA in response to induction by the known IFN-inducer polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (Poly[I:C]). The zebrafish Mx promoter contains two ISREs homologous to those found in the promoter regions of many IFN-inducible genes, and was able to drive transcription of a luciferase reporter gene when induced by either purified zebrafish IFN or Poly[I:C].