The molecular evolution of the interleukin-1 family of cytokines; IL-18 in teleost fish

Mark O. Huising, René J.M. Stet, Huub F.J. Savelkoul, B. M.Lidy Verburg-Van Kemenade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


The cytokine network is an important homeostatic system with potent activities in immune surveillance, growth, developmental and repair processes. Although interleukin-1β (IL-1β) is considered a pivotal pro-inflammatory cytokine, merely focussing on its inflammatory role would be too narrow an approach. Elucidation of the human, the mouse and the Fugu rubripes (pufferfish) genome now enables a more comprehensive overview of this cytokine family and its receptors in several vertebrate classes. Phylogenetic analyses of the IL-1 family members, comprising over 80 sequences of various fish, amphibian, avian and mammalian species, reveal that for only a few mammalian IL-1 family members unambiguous orthologues have been found in fish, indicating a recent origin of some of the mammalian IL-1 family members. Interestingly, the Fugu genome did reveal teleost orthologues for IL-18 and its putative receptor complex. All teleost IL-1β sequences cluster separately from IL-1β sequences of other species. In contrast, a number of IL-1 receptor family members have well conserved fish orthologues. This supports the concept of an ancestral role of this family, possibly in the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-413
Number of pages19
JournalDevelopmental and Comparative Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 3 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Evolution
  • Fish
  • IL-1
  • IL-18
  • Immune system
  • Interleukin-1 family
  • Neuroendocrine-immune interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Developmental Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'The molecular evolution of the interleukin-1 family of cytokines; IL-18 in teleost fish'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this