Comparative analysis of two ferritin subunits from blunt snout bream (Megalobrama amblycephala): Characterization, expression, iron depriving and bacteriostatic activity

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Iron is an essential microelement for almost all living organisms, while an excess of iron is toxic, thus maintenance of iron homeostasis is vital. As iron storage protein, ferritin plays an important role in iron metabolism. In the present study, we cloned and characterized the ferritin H subunit from Megalobrama amblycephala, termed as MamFerH. An iron-responsive element (IRE) was predicted in the 5′ untranslated region (UTR) of MamFerH, while its bulge structural was different from that of the reported ferritin M subunit (MamFerM). The MamFerH and MamFerM genes exhibited similar expression patterns during early development with specifically high expression post hatching, whereas their tissue expression patterns were different. Specifically, MamFerM was highly expressed in the spleen, liver and kidney, while MamFerH was predominantly expressed in the blood and brain, indicating their different functions. In addition, the expression of the two genes was induced upon Aeromonas hydrophila infection at both transcriptional and translational levels, and MamFerH was more efficient. Immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence analysis confirmed their significant changes at protein level and distribution in the liver post infection, indicating their participation in host immune response. Furthermore, bacteriostatic experiment revealed that recombinant MamFerH displayed more significant inhibitory effect on the growth of A. hydrophila.

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