The discovery and comparative expression analysis of three distinct type I interferons in the perciform fish, meagre (Argyrosomus regius)

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Abstract

Type I interferons (IFN) play an important role in anti-viral responses. In teleost fish multiple genes exist, that are classified by group/subgroup. That multiple subgroups are present in Acanthopterygian fish has only become apparent recently, and 3 subgroups are now known to be expressed, including a new subgroup termed IFNh. However, the potential to express multiple IFN subgroups and their interplay is not well defined. Hence this study aims to clarify the situation and undertook the first in-depth analysis into the nature and expression of IFNc, IFNd and IFNh in the perciform fish, meagre. Constitutive expression was analysed initially during larval development and in adult tissues (gills, mid-gut, head kidney, spleen). During early ontogeny IFNc was the highest expressed IFN, and this was also the case in adult tissues with the exception of gills where IFNd was highest. However, comparison between tissues for individual isoforms showed that spleen had high transcript levels of all three IFNs, IFNd/IFNh were also highly expressed in gills. The expression of each sub-group was increased significantly in the four tissues following injection of poly I:C, however, this increase was only seen in the mid-gut for IFNh. Following in vitro stimulation with poly I:C again all three isoforms were upregulated, although with differences in kinetics and the cell source used. For example, early induction was seen for IFNc/IFNh in gill cells, IFNd/IFNh in splenocytes and all three isoforms in head kidney cells. Induction was sustained in splenocytes and head kidney cells, but in gut cells only a late induction was seen. These results demonstrate a complex pattern of regulation between the different IFN isoforms present in meagre and highlights potential sub-functionalisation of these IFN subgroups during perciform anti-viral responses.

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