Identification of an interferon-stimulated gene,isg15, involved in host immune defense against viral infections in gilthead seabream (Sparus aurataL.)

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Interferons (IFNs) play a key role in the innate immunity of vertebrates against viral infections by inducing hundreds of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs), such as isg15. Isg15 is an ubiquitin-like protein, which can conjugate cellular and viral proteins in a process called ISGylation, although it can also act as a cytokine-like protein. Gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata L.) is an important asymptomatic carrier of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV) and nodavirus, representing a threat to other co-cultivated susceptible species. In order to better understand virus-host interactions in this fish species, this study addresses the identification and molecular characterization of seabream isg15 (sb-isg15). In addition, the modulation of transcript levels of sb-isg15 was analysed in SAF-1cells and seabream acidophilic granulocytes (AGs) stimulated in vitro with different pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) or inoculated with VHSV and striped jack nervous necrosis virus (SJNNV).The full-length cDNA of sb-isg15 gene, encoding a predicted protein of 155 amino acids, was identified and seen to share the same characteristics as other fish and mammalian isg15 genes. Here we report the clear induction of sb-isg15 transcript levels in SAF-1cells and AGs stimulated with toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands, such as polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly I:C) or genomic DNA from Vibrio anguillarum (VaDNA), respectively. Furthermore, VHSV and SJNNV inoculation induced a significant degree of sb-isg15 transcription in SAF-1cells and AGs. However, the relative levels of viral RNA transcription showed that SJNNV replication seems to be more efficient than VHSV in both in vitro systems. Interestingly, sb-isg15 transcript induction elicited by VaDNA was reduced in VHSV- and SJNNV-inoculated AGs, suggesting an interference prompted by the viruses against the type I IFN system. Taken together, these findings support the use of seabream AGs as a valuable experimental system to study virus-host interactions, in which sb-isg15 seems to play an important role.HIGHLIGHTSSeabream Isg15 shows similar characteristics to that observed in other fish species.Viral inoculation and PAMPs induced sb-isg15 transcription in SAF-1cells and AGs.VHSV and SJNNV showed antagonistic activity against the IFN response.Interferon induction elicited by VaDNA prevents VHSV an SJNNV infection in AGs.VHSV and SJNNV replication exerted cytopathic effect on seabream AGs.

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