Transcriptomic analysis of immune-related genes in the lipopolysaccharide-stimulated hepatopancreas of the mudflat crabHelice tientsinensis

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Abstract

The mudflat crab Helice tientsinensis is one of the most economically important aquaculture species in China. Nevertheless, it is susceptible to various diseases caused by viruses, bacteria and rickettsia-like organisms. A better understanding of the immune system and genes related to the responses to bacterial and viral infection is required. Herein, the hepatopancreas transcriptome of H. tientsinensis was analyzed by comparing control and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RNA-Seq data, yielding 91,885,038 bp and 13.78 Gb of clean reads. Following assembly and annotation, 93,207 unigenes with an average length of 883 bp were identified, of which 31,674 and 13,700 were annotated in Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) databases, respectively. Following LPS, 4845 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified, of which 2491 and 2354 were up- and down-regulated, respectively. To further investigate immune-related DEGs, KEGG enrichment analysis identified immune response pathways, most notably the peroxisome and Toll-like receptor signaling pathways. Quantitative real time-PCR (qRT-PCR) confirmed the up-regulation of a random selection of DEGs. This systematic transcriptomic analysis of the innate immune pathway in H. tientsinensis expands our understanding of the immune system in crabs.

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