l-Rhamnose-binding lectins (RBLs) in channel catfish,Ictalurus punctatus: Characterization and expression profiling in mucosal tissues

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Abstract

Rhamnose-binding lectins (RBLs) have recently emerged as important molecules in the context of innate immunity in teleost fishes. Previously, using RNA-seq technology, we observed marked up-regulation of a RBL in channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) gill following a challenge with the bacterial pathogen Flavobacterium columnare. Furthermore, the magnitude of RBL up-regulation positively correlated with disease susceptibility. Moving forward from these findings, we wished to more broadly understand RBL function, diversity, and expression kinetics in channel catfish. Therefore, in the present study we characterized the RBL gene family present in select channel catfish tissues and profiled family member expression after challenge with two different Gram-negative bacterial pathogens. Here, six RBLs were identified from channel catfish and were designated IpRBL1a, IpRBL1b, IpRBL1c, IpRBL3a, IpRBL3b, and IpRBL5a. These RBLs contained carbohydrate recognition domains (CRD) ranging from one to three domains and each CRD contained the conserved motifs of –YGR- and –DPC-. Despite a level of structural conservation, the catfish RBLs showed low full-length identity with RBLs from outside the order Siluriformes. IpRBL expression after bacterial infection varied depending on both pathogen and tissue type, suggesting that IpRBLs may exert disparate functions or exhibit distinct tissue-selective roles in the host immune response to bacterial pathogens.

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