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The koala immunological toolkit: sequence identification and comparison of key markers of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) immune response

Katrina MorrisA, Peter J. PrentisB, Denis O’MeallyA, Ana PavasovicC, Alyce Taylor BrownD, Peter TimmsD,E, Katherine BelovA and Adam PolkinghorneD,E,F

AFaculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, RMC Gunn, B19, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

BSchool of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, 2 George Street, Brisbane, Qld 4001, Australia.

CSchool of Biomedical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, 2 George Street, Brisbane, Qld 4001, Australia.

DInstitute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, 60 Musk Avenue, Kelvin Grove, Qld 4059, Australia.

EFaculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, 90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs, Qld 4556, Australia.

FCorresponding author. Email:


 The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is an Australian marsupial that continues to experience significant populationdeclines.InfectiousdiseasescausedbypathogenssuchasChlamydiaareproposedtohaveamajorrole.Veryfew species-specific immunological reagents are available, severely hindering our ability to respond to the threat of infectious diseases in the koala. In this study, we utilise data from the sequencing of the koala transcriptome to identify key immunological markers of the koala adaptive immune response and cytokines known to be important in the host response to chlamydial infection in other species. This report describes the identification and preliminary sequence analysis of (1) T lymphocyte glycoprotein markers (CD4, CD8); (2) IL-4, a marker for the Th2 response; (3) cytokines such as IL-6, IL-12 and IL-1b, that have been shown to have a role in chlamydial clearance and pathology in other hosts; and (4) the sequences for the koala immunoglobulins, IgA, IgG, IgE and IgM. These sequences will enable the development of a range of immunological reagents for understanding the koala’s innate and adaptive immune responses, while also providing a resource that will enable continued investigations into the origin and evolution of the marsupial immune system.

  • All
  • 2013
  • Biogeography
  • Biology
  • Chlamydia
  • Diet
  • Disease
  • Ecology
  • Ellis
  • Eucalyptus
  • Genetics
  • Habitat
  • Infection
  • Interventions
  • Koala
  • Lunney
  • Threats
  • Timms
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