Molecular identification and functional characterisation of the interferon regulatory factor 1 in the blunt snout bream (Megalobrama amblycephala)

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Interferon regulatory factors (IRFs) play a key role in mediating the host response against pathogen infection and other important biological processes. This is the first report of an IRF family member in blunt snout bream Megalobrama amblycephala. The complete cDNA of M. amblycephala (Ma) IRF1 gene has 1422 nucleotides (nt.), with an open reading frame of 858 nt, encoding a polypeptide of 285 amino acids. The putative MaIRF1 polypeptide shared significant structural homology with known IRF1 homologs: a conserved IRF domain was found at the N-terminal and an IRF association domain 2 at the C-terminal. Phylogenetic analysis showed that MaIRF1 amino acid sequence clustered with other teleost IRF1s, with a grass carp ortholog exhibiting the highest similarity. MaIRF1 mRNA expression patterns were studied using quantitative real-time PCR in healthy fish tissues and after a challenge with Aeromonas hydrophila bacterium. It was constitutively expressed in all examined tissues: the highest in blood, the lowest in muscle. The expression after A. hydrophila challenge was up-regulated in liver, spleen and kidney, but down-regulated in intestine and gills. At the protein level, similar expression patterns were observed in liver and gills. Patterns differed in intestine (up-regulation), spleen (down-regulation) and kidney (expression mostly unchanged). This study indicates that MaIRF1 gene plays an important role in the blunt snout bream immune system, hence providing an important base for further studies.

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