The NCK and ABI adaptor genes in catfish and their involvement in ESC disease response

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Adaptor proteins non-catalytic region of tyrosine kinase (NCK) and Abelson interactor (ABI) are crucial for disease response. NCK1 was identified to be a candidate gene for enteric septicemia of catfish (ESC) disease resistance, and was speculated to play similar roles during ESC and enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) pathogenicity. ABI1 was reported as a positional candidate gene for bacterial cold water disease (BCWD) resistance in rainbow trout. In this study, three NCK genes and six ABI genes were identified in the channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) genome and blue catfish (I. furcatus) transcriptome, and annotated by domain structures, phylogenetic and syntenic analyses. Their expression patterns were examined in the intestine and liver of catfish after challenge with Edwardsiella ictaluri. In the intestine, NCK1, ABI2a, ABI2b, ABI3a were differentially expressed after E. ictaluri infection. In the liver, NCK2a, NCK2b, ABI1b, ABI2a, ABI2b were significantly upregulated in ESC susceptible fish. In general, the NCK and ABI genes, with exception of ABI3a gene and NCK1 gene, were expressed at higher levels in susceptible fish after infection than in control fish, but were expressed at lower levels in resistant fish than in the control fish. Taken together, these results support the notion that NCK and ABI genes are involved in disease processes facilitating pathogenesis of the E. ictaluri bacteria.

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