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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2015, Article ID 367670, 7 pages
Research Article

Evolutionary Insights into IL17A in Lagomorphs

1CIBIO, InBIO-Research Network in Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, Universidade do Porto, Campus de Vairão, Rua Padre Armando Quintas, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal
2Unidade Multidisciplinar de Investigação Biomédica (UMIB), Universidade do Porto (UP), Rua de Jorge Viterbo Ferreira, No. 228, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal
3Departamento de Genética, CSPGF, Instituto Nacional de Saúde Dr. Ricardo Jorge, Rua Alexandre Herculano, No. 321, 4000-055 Porto, Portugal
4Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto, Rua do Campo Alegre, s/n, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal
5Centro de Investigação em Tecnologias de Saúde (CITS), CESPU, Rua Central de Gandra, No. 1317, 4585-116 Gandra, Portugal

Received 22 September 2015; Accepted 22 November 2015

Academic Editor: Kong Chen

Copyright © 2015 Fabiana Neves et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In leporids, IL17A had been implicated in the host defense against extracellular pathogens, such as Francisella tularensis that infects hares and rabbits and causes the zoonotic disease tularemia. Here, we studied IL17A from five lagomorphs, European rabbit, pygmy rabbit, brush rabbit, European brown hare, and American pika. We observed that this protein is highly conserved between these species, with a similarity of 97–99% in leporids and ~88% between leporids and American pika. The exon/intron structure, N-glycosylation sites, and cysteine residues are conserved between lagomorphs. However, at codon 88, one of the interaction sites between IL17A and its receptor IL17RA, there is an Arg>Pro mutation that only occurs in European rabbit and European brown hare. This could induce critical alterations in the IL17A structure and conformation and consequently modify its function. The differences observed between leporids and humans or rodents might also represent important alterations in protein structure and function. In addition, as for other interleukins, IL17A sequences of human and European rabbit are more closely related than the sequences of human and mouse or European rabbit and mouse. This study gives further support to the hypothesis that European rabbit might be a more suitable animal model for studies on human IL17.