Takizawa, F., Araki, K., Ito, K., Moritomo, T., and Nakanishi, T. (2007) Expression analysis of two Eomesodermin homologues in zebrafish lymphoid tissues and cells. Molecular immunology. 44(9):2324-2331.
Eomesodermin (Eomes) is a T-box transcription factor that is involved in mesoderm formation in most vertebrates. Eomes is also expressed in CD8(+) T cells and NK cells. No information is available on the role of Eomes in the immune system of lower vertebrates to date, although developmental studies on Eomes (Eomes1) have been performed in zebrafish. Here we report the identification of a second Eomes (Eomes2) in zebrafish and compare expression of the two Eomes genes in the immune system. Zebrafish Eomes1 and Eomes2, composed of 661 and 534 amino acids, respectively, share 49.3% amino acid identity in their coding regions and 88.7% amino acid identity in their T-box regions. Conserved synteny between regions of the human and zebrafish genomes, gene organization and phylogenetic analysis all indicate that the zebrafish Eomes2 gene is a homologue of mammalian Eomes, as previously found for zebrafish Eomes1. Eomes1 mRNA was found to be expressed in the gonad, body kidney, spleen and gill, while Eomes2 mRNA was not detected in any of these tissues. However, strong expression of both Eomes mRNAs was detected in the leukocytes from the spleen, followed by those from body kidney and peripheral blood, with expression of Eomes1 always stronger than that of Eomes2. RT-PCR analysis of body kidney cells sorted by FACS revealed that Eomes1 was expressed strongly in lymphocytes, weakly in blast cells, and was not expressed in granulocytes, while Eomes2 was expressed weakly in lymphocytes. These results suggest that both Eomes genes are involved in the zebrafish immune response, particularly in lymphocyte function as has been found in mammals.