Characterization and expression analysis of chitinase genes (CHIT1, CHIT2 and CHIT3) in turbot (Scophthalmus maximusL.) following bacterial challenge

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Chitinases are hydrolytic enzymes which have been employed to breakdown chitin coats of pathogenic microorganisms, thereby weaken the defense system of several pathogens and insects. In this regard, we identified the chitinase genes of turbot and characterized their expression patterns in mucosal tissues following Vibrio anguillarum and Streptococcus iniae challenge. In present study, transcripts of three chitinase genes (CHIT1, CHIT2 and CHIT3) were captured, as well as their protein structures and expression patterns following different bacterial infection were also characterized. The chitinases were widely expressed in all tested tissues with the highest expression levels of CHIT1 and CHIT2 in intestine, and CHIT3 in skin. Finally, these three genes showed different expression patterns following bacterial challenge. The significant quick induction of chitinases in mucosal surfaces against infection indicated their key roles to prevent pathogen attachment and entry in mucosal immunity. Functional studies should further characterize the chitinases and avail utilization of their function to increase the disease resistance in maintaining the integrity of the mucosal barriers against infection and facilitating the disease resistant family/strain selection in turbot.

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