Detection of the hepcidin prepropeptide and mature peptide in liver of rainbow trout

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Hepcidin is a small, cationic peptide which displays antimicrobial activities and iron regulatory function. Originally identified in mammals, this peptide is also present in fish. Hepcidin mRNA is predominantly expressed in liver and is regulated by iron and pathogen infection. In this work, we characterized the expression of trout hepcidin at protein level using rabbit antisera. Results showed that the prepropeptide of hepcidin can be detected by Western Blot in liver tissue from trout injected with iron or lipopolysaccharide. The mature hepcidin peptide was detected at the ionized state 5+(m/z 577.2) by HPLC-ESI-MS in acid extracts from liver tissue. Moreover, hepcidin peptide was located in trout liver imprints by immunofluorescence. These results showed that hepcidin peptide is up-regulated by iron and bacterial components in the trout liver. This up-regulation could be a potential indicator of disease susceptibility, suggesting that hepcidin regulates iron homeostasis in salmonids.

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