Gene expression regulation of the TLR9 and MyD88-dependent pathways in rock bream against rock bream iridovirus (RBIV) infection

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Rock bream iridovirus (RBIV), which is a member of the Megalocytivirus genus, causes severe mass mortalities in rock bream in Korea. To date, the innate immune defense mechanisms of rock bream against RBIV is unclear. In this study, we assessed the expression levels of genes related to TLR9 and MyD88-dependent pathways in RBIV-infected rock bream in high, low or no mortality conditions. In the high mortality group (100% mortality at 15 days post infection (dpi)), high levels of TLR9 and MyD88 expressions (6.4- and 2.4-fold, respectively) were observed at 8 d and then reduced (0.6- and 0.1-fold, respectively) with heavy viral loads at 10 dpi (2.21 × 107/μl). Moreover, TRAF6, IRF5, IL1β, IL8, IL12 and TNFα expression levels showed no statistical significance until 10 dpi. Conversely, in the low mortality group (28% expected mortality at 35 dpi), TLR9, MyD88 and TRAF6 expression levels were significantly higher than those in the control group at several sampling points until 30 dpi. Higher levels of IRF5, IL1β, IL8, IL12 and TNFα expression were also observed, however, these were not significantly different from those of the control group. In the no mortality group (0% mortality at 40 dpi), significantly higher levels of MyD88 (2 d, 4 d and 40 dpi), TRAF6 (2 dpi), IL1β (4 dpi) and IL8 (2 d and 4 dpi) expression were observed. In summary, RBIV-infected rock bream induces innate immune response, which could be a major contributing factor to effective fish control over viral transcription. MyD88, TRAF6, IL1β and IL8-related immune responses were activated in fish survivor condition (low or no mortality group). This is a critical factor for RBIV disease recovery; however, these immune responses did not efficiently respond in fish dead condition (high mortality group).

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