Identification, annotation and expression analysis of 29 Rho GTPase genes from channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) after bacterial infections

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The Rho family GTPases are a group of small monomeric G proteins, which are molecular switches in signaling pathways. They have been known to regulate a diverse range of cellular processes including actin cytoskeleton rearrangement and microtubule dynamics. In particular, their participations in immune responses are also significant. However, little information of the Rho GTPases is available in teleost including channel catfish, an economically important species and one of the best teleost models forimmunological research. In this study, Rho GTPase genes were identified from channel catfish and well annotated by phylogenetic and syntenic analyses. Their expression profiles were determined in channel catfish healthy tissues and infected tissues. Altogether seven Rho GTPase genes were significantly regulated after bacterial infection, with six genes in the gill after Flavobacterium columnare challenge and two genes in the intestine in response to Edwardsiella ictaluri. All the differentially expressed genes were up-regulated soon after bacterial infection. Different expression patterns between the two experiments were observed, which may be attributed to tissue-specific regulation or pathogen-specific regulation. These results suggested that Rho GTPases play important roles in immune responses to bacterial pathogens, setting a foundation for future investigation on Rho GTPases.

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