Functional elucidation of LvToll 3 receptor from P. vannamei through RNA interference and its potential role in the shrimp antiviral response

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There is a continuing debate on whether an antiviral immunity similar to vertebrate interferon response exists in invertebrates. Recent advances in penaeid immunology identified several new members of the Toll receptor family and one of these is LvToll3 (Litopenaeus vannamei Toll3). It is hypothesized in this study that LvToll3 responds to pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) such as dsRNA, which then activates certain antiviral pathways in penaeids. RNA interference (RNAi) was used to determine differences in the expression levels of specific genes putatively involved in the antiviral response through qPCR. Results showed that LvToll3 upregulation could be elicited through the introduction of double stranded RNA (dsRNA) regardless of sequence relative to initial levels in the 3rd hour. Furthermore, statistically intriguing trend in the overall expression of Vago 4/5 and Interferon regulatory factor (IRF) suggests that both these genes are affected by the expression of LvToll3. Dicer showed no statistical difference between the experimentally treated (LvToll3-dsRNA), positive control (GFP-dsRNA), and control (PBS) samples corroborating the assertion that dicer is part of another antiviral mechanism that acts in concert with Toll system. These findings suggests that LvToll3 plays a critical role in penaeid antiviral immunity when molecular patterns associated with viruses are detected.

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