Signaling pathways regulating innate immune responses in shrimp

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The first line of defense against microbial infections in animals is innate immune response which triggers diverse humoral and cellular activities via signal transduction pathways. Toll, IMD and JAK/STAT pathways are regarded as the main pathways regulating the immune response of invertebrates. This paper reviews the main progress of the investigation on the immune response to pathogen's infection in shrimp and supposes that these three signal pathways exist in shrimp. Most of the components (proteins or genes) involved in Toll pathway of Drosophila have been cloned also in shrimp which suggested the existence of Toll pathway in shrimp. The data update shows that the Toll pathway of shrimp is responsive not only to Gram-positive bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria, but also to WSSV. Challenge of WSSV can lead to the variation of transcription level of all identified components in shrimp Toll pathway, which supported that Toll pathway in shrimp played important roles during WSSV infection. Two major homologs to the components of IMD pathway of Drosophila, IMD and Relish, have been identified in shrimp, which indicated that IMD pathway should be existed in shrimp and might play important roles in regulating the immune response of shrimp to bacteria and virus infection. Relish in IMD pathway and dorsal in Toll pathway of shrimp were both involved in the immune response of shrimp to bacteria and virus infection, which implied that these two pathways are not completely separated during the immune response of shrimp. The transcription of STAT in shrimp was modulated after WSSV infection, which suggested that a putative JAK/STAT pathway might exist in shrimp and be very important to virus infection. Study on the signaling pathway regulating the immune response in shrimp could help us to understand the innate immune system, and would provide instructions to shrimp disease control. Obviously, to get more clear ideas about the innate immunological pathways in shrimp, more solid functional studies should be done in the future.

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