The TLR13-MyD88-NF-κB signalling pathway ofCyclina sinensisplays vital roles in innate immune responses
Toll-like receptors, the best known pattern recognition receptors, play important roles in recognizing non-self molecules and binding pathogen-associated molecular patterns in the innate immune system. In the present research, the cDNA and protein characterization of the TLR signalling pathway genes including IRAK4, TRAK6 and IKKα (named CsIRAK4, CsTRAF6 and CsIKKα, respectively) with the typical motifs from Cyclina sinensis showed significant similarity with their homologues from other shellfish. Furthermore, the mRNA transcripts of these three genes are ubiquitously expressed in all tissues tested and are dominantly expressed in C. sinensis haemocytes (P < 0.05). Moreover, IRAK4, TRAK6 and IKKα cDNA expression levels were all up-regulated after injection with Vibrio anguillarum, Micrococcus luteus and poly I:C (P < 0.01) as shown by quantitative real-time PCR, indicating that they were involved in responding to pathogenic stimulation. We explored the function of the TLR13-MyD88-NF-κB signalling pathway in the innate immune responses of C. sinensis by RNA interference and immune challenges. The results suggested the mRNA expression patterns of CsMyD88, CsIRAK4, CsTRAF6, CsIKKα, CsIκB, CsNF-κB, CsC-LYZ and CsAMP were all down-regulated (P < 0.01) in normal and stimulated C. sinensis haemocytes, revealing the involvement of the TLR13-MyD88-NF-κB signalling pathway in innate immunity by positively adjusting internal signalling factors and immune-related genes. In summary, a TLR13-MyD88-NF-κB signalling pathway exists and plays vital roles in innate immune responses in C. sinensis. These findings collectively lay the foundation for studying the functional characterization of internal signalling factors and establishing a regulatory network for the TLR signalling pathway in molluscs.