Molecular genomic- and transcriptional-aspects of a teleostTRAF6homolog: Possible involvement in immune responses ofOplegnathus fasciatusagainst pathogens

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Tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR)-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) is a crucial docking molecule for TNFR superfamily and Interleukin-1 receptor/Toll-like receptor (IL-1R/TLR) superfamily. As an adaptor protein in pathogen-induced signaling cascades, TRAF6 modulates both adaptive- and innate-immunity. In order to understand the immune responses of teleost TRAF6, Oplegnathus fasciatus TRAF6-like gene (OfTRAF6) was identified and characterized. Genomic length of OfTRAF6 (4 kb), obtained by means of a genomic BAC library, spanned seven exons which represented a putative coding sequence of 1716 bp and encoded 571 amino acids (aa) with an estimated molecular weight of 64 kDa. This putative protein demonstrated the classical tetra-domain architecture composed of a zinc finger RING-type profile, two zinc finger TRAF-type profiles, a coiled-coil region and a MATH domain. While the sequence similarity with human TRAF6 was 66.5%, OfTRAF6 shared a higher overall similarity with teleost homologs (˜75–92%). Phylogeny of TRAF-family was examined and TRAF6-subfamily appeared to be the precursor of other subfamilies. In addition, the clustering pattern confirmed that OfTRAF6 is a novel member of TRAF6subfamily. Based on comparative genomic analysis, we found that vertebrate TRAF6 exhibits two distinct structures in teleost and tetrapod lineages. An intron-loss event has probably occurred in TRAF6 gene during the evolution of tetrapods from teleosts. Inspection of putative OfTRAF6 promoter revealed the presence of several immune responsive transcription factor binding sites. Real-time qPCR assay detected OfTRAF6 transcripts in eleven juvenile fish tissues with higher levels in peripheral blood cells followed by liver. Putative role of OfTRAF6 in response to flagellin, LPS, poly I:C, pathogenic bacteria (Edwardsiella tarda and Streptococcus iniae) and rock bream iridovirus (RBIV) was profiled in different tissues and OfTRAF6 revealed up-regulated transcript levels. Altogether, these findings implicate that OfTRAF6 is not only involved in flagellin-induced signaling cascade, but also contributes to the antibacterial- and antiviral-responses.

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