Identification, structural characterization, and expression analysis of toll-like receptors 2 and 3 from gibel carp (Carassius auratus gibelio)

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Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are important components of innate immunity. TLRs recognize pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and initiate downstream signaling pathways in response. In present study, we report the identification of two TLRs from gibel carp (Carassius auratus gibelio), TLR2 and TLR3 (designated CagTLR2 and CagTLR3, respectively). We report on the genomic structures and mRNA expression patterns of CagTLR2 and CagTLR3. Five exons and four introns were identified from the genomic DNA sequence of CagTLR3 (4749 bp in total length); this genomic organization is similar to that of TLR3 in zebrafish and human. However, only one intron was identified from the CagTLR2 genomic locus (3166 bp in total length); this unique genomic organization of CagTLR2 is different from that of TLR2 in fish and humans. The cDNAs of CagTLR2 and CagTLR3 encoded 791 and 904 amino acid residues, respectively. CagTLR2 and CagTLR3 contained two distinct structural/functional motifs of the TLR family: a leucine-rich repeat (LRR) domain in the extracellular portion and a toll/interleukin-1 receptor (TIR) domain in the intracellular portion. The positions of critical amino acid residues involed in PAMP recognition and signaling pathway transduction in mammalian TLRs were conserved in CagTLR2 and CagTLR3. Phylogenetic analysis revealed a closer clustering of CagTLR2 and CagTLR3 with TLRs from freshwater fish than with marine fish species. In healthy gibel carp, transcripts of these genes were detected in all examined tissues, and high expression levels of CagTLR2 and CagTLR3 were observed in liver and brain, respectively. Following injection with CyHV-2, expression levels of CagTLR2 and CagTLR3 were significantly upregulated in the spleens of gibel carp after three days, and CagTLR3 transcript levels were rapidly increased in head kidney after 12 h. These results suggest that CagTLR2 and CagTLR3 are functionally involved in the induction of antiviral immune response.

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