Antimicrobial peptides within the Yellowtail Kingfish (Seriola lalandi)

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Abstract

A number of Seriola species are currently farmed or being investigated as future aquaculture species in countries around the world. However they face a number of issues and limitations which will need to be overcome to ensure future stability and growth, one of which are disease outbreaks. Despite this, very little has been done to understand the immune system of Seriola species and very few immune genes have been characterised. Antimicrobial peptides (AMP) are naturally occurring low molecular weight polypeptides that play a major role in an organism's immune system and act effectively as a first line of defence. This investigation isolates the full length cDNA sequences of two AMP's, piscidin and hepcidin from the yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi). The full-length cDNA of the piscidin gene encodes a 65 amino acid prepropeptide, containing a 25-residue peptide, predicted to form an amphipathic helix-loop-helix structure. Phylogenetic analysis using fish piscidin sequences, showed that this AMP is only found in bony fish within the Acanthomorpha clade and that a possible three groups within the piscidin family exists, with S. lalandi belonging to a particular group. The full-length cDNA of the hepcidin gene encodes a 90 amino acid preprohepcidin, which contains a typical RX(R/K)R motif for cleavage of the mature peptide which comprises of eight conserved cysteine residues. Phylogenetic analysis of known vertebrate hepcidin antimicrobial peptide (HAMP) sequences, shows sequences from the Neoteleostei clade of bony fish form two very separate groups, HAMP1 and HAMP2, with the S. lalandi hepcidin gene grouped with the HAMP1 sequences. HAMP2 sequences are found to have multiple copies within fish and genome analysis showed very clearly that these two groups of genes are located on separate regions on the genome, with the multiple HAMP2 copies formed from tandem gene duplications. Lastly, using qPCR the expression of the S. lalandi piscidin gene within healthy fish was highest within, spleen and gills and lowest in liver, whereas hepcidin was highest in the liver with little or no expression in the spleen and gills.

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