Identification and expression analysis of three XCR1-like receptors fromEpinephelus coioidesafterCryptocaryon irritansinfection

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The unique receptor XCR1 of the XC subfamily of chemokines is specially expressed in CD8α-like dendritic cells. This receptor has one ligand in mice (XCL1) and two ligands in humans (XCL1 and XCL2). In mammals, the XCR1-XCL1 complex performs a vital role in regulating the localization and function of T cells, dendritic cells, and other cell types. In this study, three XCR1-like receptors (EcXCR1, EcXCR1L, and EcCCR12) were identified from a transcriptome database of orange-spotted grouper. The open reading frames (ORFs) of EcXCR1, EcXCR1L, and EcCCR12 predictably encode 337, 348, and 358 amino acids, respectively. All receptors are seven trans-membrane proteins, and contain conserved functional regions, and conserved sites, that are crucial for the role of chemokine receptors in mammals. Conserved features include four cysteine residues in the extracellular regions, a “DRY” motif in the second intracellular loop, and common characteristics at the N-terminus that are important for ligand interaction. In healthy grouper, EcXCR1, EcXCR1L, and EcCCR12 were broadly expressed in all the tissues tested. EcXCR1 was expressed at high levels in the liver, and EcXCR1L, and EcCCR12 in the thymus. After grouper infection with Cryptocaryon irritans, EcXCR1 and EcCCR12 were up-regulated in the skin and the spleen, and EcCCR12 in the skin, gill, and spleen. EcXCR1L expression changed only slightly. These results imply that EcXCR1 and EcCCR12 may be involved in host defense against parasite infection. A polyclonal antibody was produced against EcCCR12, and used to detect EcCCR12-positive cells in peripheral blood. These results will contribute considerably to elucidate the biological role of piscine XCR1-like receptors and their ligands system in the future.

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