Genomic and transcriptomic approaches to study immunology in cyprinids: What is next?
Accelerated by the introduction of Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), a number of genomes of cyprinid fish species have been drafted, leading to a highly valuable collective resource of comparative genome information on cyprinids (Cyprinidae). In addition, NGS-based transcriptome analyses of different developmental stages, organs, or cell types, increasingly contribute to the understanding of complex physiological processes, including immune responses. Cyprinids are a highly interesting family because they comprise one of the most-diversified families of teleosts and because of their variation in ploidy level, with diploid, triploid, tetraploid, hexaploid and sometimes even octoploid species. The wealth of data obtained from NGS technologies provides both challenges and opportunities for immunological research, which will be discussed here. Correct interpretation of ploidy effects on immune responses requires knowledge of the degree of functional divergence between duplicated genes, which can differ even between closely-related cyprinid fish species. We summarize NGS-based progress in analysing immune responses and discuss the importance of respecting the presence of (multiple) duplicated gene sequences when performing transcriptome analyses for detailed understanding of complex physiological processes. Progressively, advances in NGS technology are providing workable methods to further elucidate the implications of gene duplication events and functional divergence of duplicates genes and proteins involved in immune responses in cyprinids. We conclude with discussing how future applications of NGS technologies and analysis methods could enhance immunological research and understanding.