Molecular characterization of toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), analysis of its inductive expression and associated down-stream signaling molecules following ligands exposure and bacterial infection in the Indian major carp, rohu(Labeo rohita)

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Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are one of the key components of innate immunity. Among various TLR types, TLR2 is involved in recognizing specific microbial structures such as peptidoglycan (PGN), lipoteichoic acid (LTA), zymosan etc., and after binding them it triggers myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88)-dependent signaling pathway to induce various cytokines. In this report, TLR2 gene was cloned and characterized in rohu (Labeo rohita), which is highly commercially important fish species in the farming-industry of Indian subcontinent. Full-length rohu TLR2 (rTLR2) cDNA comprised of 2691 bp with a single open reading frame (ORF) of 2379 bp encoding a polypeptide of 792 amino acids (aa) with an estimated molecular mass of 90.74 kDa. Structurally, it comprised of one leucine-rich repeat region (LRR) each at N-terminal (LRR-NT; 44–55 aa) and C-terminal (LRR-CT; 574–590 aa), 21 LRRs in between C and N-terminal, one trans-membrane (TM) domain (595–612 aa), and one TIR domain (645–790 aa). Phylogenetically, rohu TLR2 was closely related to common carp and exhibited significant similarity (93.1%) and identity (88.1%) in their amino acids. During embryogenesis, rTLR2 expression was detected as early as ∼7 h post fertilization indicating its importance in embryonic innate immune defense system in fish. Basal expression analysis of rTLR2 showed its constitutive expression in all the tissues examined, highest was in the spleen and the lowest was in the eye. Inductive expression of TLR2 was observed following zymosan, PGN and LTA exposure and Streptococcus uberis and Edwardsiella tarda infections. Expression of immunoregulatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-8, in various organs was significantly enhanced by ligands exposure and bacterial infections, and was correlated with inductive expression of TLR2. In vitro studies showed that PGN treatment induced TLR2, MyD88 and TRAF6 (TNF receptor associated factor 6) expression, NF-κB (nuclear factor kappa B) activation and IL-8 expression. Blocking NF-κB resulted in down-regulation of PGN mediated IL-8 expression indicating the involvement of NF-κB in IL-8 induction. Together, these findings highlighted the important role of TLR2 in immune surveillance of various organs, and in augmenting innate immunity in fish in response to pathogenic invasion. This study will be helpful in developing preventive measures against infectious diseases in fish.

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