Rise, M.L.; Hall, J.R.; Alcock, B.P.; Hori, T.S. (2012). Dynamic expression profiles of virus-responsive and putative antimicrobial "peptide-encoding transcripts during Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) embryonic and. early larval development. Gene. 509 (2) 232-246.
Early life stage mortality is one of the problems faced by Atlantic cod aquaculture. However, our understanding of immunity in early life stage fish is still incomplete, and the information available is restricted to a few species. In the present work we investigated the expression of immune-relevant transcripts in Atlantic cod during early development. The transcripts subjected to QPCR analysis in the present study were previously identified as putative anti-viral or anti-bacterial genes in Atlantic cod using suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) libraries, QPCR, and/or microarrays. Of the 11 genes involved in this study, only atf3, cxc chemokine and gaduscidin-1 were not detected at the transcript level in all developmental stages investigated from unfertilized egg to early larval stage. Adam22, hemp, il8, irf1, irf7, lgp2, sacsin, and stat1 transcripts were detected in unfertilized egg and 7 h post-fertilization (similar to 2-cell stage) embryos, showing maternal contribution of these immune-relevant transcripts to the early embryonic transcriptome. The Atlantic cod genes included in this study presented diverse transcript expression profiles throughout embryonic and early larval development. For example, adam22 and sacsin transcripts rose abruptly during blastula/gastrula stage and were then expressed at relatively high levels through subsequent embryonic and early larval developmental stages. A peak in irf1 and irf7 transcript expression during early segmentation suggests that these interferon pathway genes play developmental stage-specific roles during cod embryogenesis. Stat1 had increasing transcript expression throughout blastula/gastrula, segmentation, and early larval developmental stages. Atf3, cxc chemokine, gaduscidin-1, and il8 transcripts rose approximately 2-3 fold during hatching, supporting the hypothesis that there is preparation at the immune-relevant transcript expression level to deal with environmental pathogens that may be encountered during early larval development. The specific roles that interferon pathway and other immune-relevant genes play in early life stage cod, and the potential impact of their dynamic transcript expression on immune competence of Atlantic cod embryos and larvae, remain unclear and warrant further study. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.