Interferon-independent antiviral activity of 25-hydroxycholesterol in a teleost fish
Oxysterols are a family of cholesterol oxygenated derivatives with diverse roles in many biological activities and have recently been linked with the induction of a cellular antiviral state. The antiviral effects of 25-hydroxycholesterol (25HC) extend to several mammalian enveloped and non-enveloped viruses. It has been reported that the expression of the gene encoding cholesterol 25-hydroxylase (CH25H) is induced by interferons (IFNs). In this work, five ch25h genes were identified in the zebrafish (Danio rerio) genome. The ch25h genes showed different tissue expression patterns and differed in their expression after immune stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (PolyI:C) and Spring Viremia Carp Virus (SVCV). Only one of the 5 genes, ch25hb, was overexpressed after the administration of the treatments. Synteny and phylogenetic analyses revealed that ch25hb is the putative homolog of mammalian Ch25h in zebrafish, while the remaining zebrafish ch25h genes are products of duplications within the teleost lineage. Interestingly, its modulation was not mediated by type I IFNs, contrasting previous reports on mammalian orthologs. Nevertheless, in vivo overexpression of ch25hb in zebrafish larvae significantly reduced mortality after SVCV challenge. Viral replication was also negatively affected by 25HC administration to the zebrafish cell line ZF4. In conclusion, the interferon-independent antiviral role of 25HC was extended to a non-mammalian species for the first time, and dual activity that both protects the cells and interacts with the virus cannot be discarded.