All metazoans possess innate immune defence system whereas parameters of the adaptive immune system make their first appearance in the gnathostomata, the jawed vertebrates. Fish are therefore the first animal phyla to possess both an innate and adaptive immune system making them very interesting as regards developmental studies of the immune system. The massive increase in aquaculture in recent decades has also put greater emphasis on studies of the fish immune system and defence against diseases commonly associated with intensive fish rearing. Some of the main components of the innate and adaptive immune system of fish are described. The innate parameters are at the forefront of immune defence in fish and are a crucial factor in disease resistance. The adaptive response of fish is commonly delayed but is essential for lasting immunity and a key factor in successful vaccination. Some of the inherent and external factors that can manipulate the immune system of fish are discussed, the main fish diseases are listed and the pathogenicity and host defence discussed. The main prophylactic measures are covered, including vaccination, probiotics and immunostimulation. A key element in the immunological control of fish diseases is the great variation in disease susceptibility and immune defence of different fish species, a reflection of the extended time the present day teleosts have been separated in evolution. Future research will probably make use of molecular and proteomic tools both to study important elements in immune defence and prophylactic measures and to assist with breeding programmes for disease resistance.
As a benthic filter-feeder of estuaries, the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, faces tremendous exposure to microbial pathogens. How eastern oysters without adaptive immunity survive in pathogen-rich environments is of fundamental interest, but studies on its immune system are hindered by the lack of genomic resources. We sequenced the transcriptome of an adult oyster with short Illumina reads and assembled 66,229 contigs with a N50 length of 1,503 bp. The assembly covered 89.4 % of published ESTs and 97.9 % of mitochondrial genes demonstrating its quality. A set of 39,978 contigs and unigenes (>300 bp) were identified and annotated by searching public databases. Analysis of the gene set yielded a diverse set of 657 genes related to innate immunity, including many pertaining to pattern recognition, effectors, signal transduction, cytokines, and apoptosis. Gene families encoding C1q domain containing proteins, CTLD, IAPs, Ig_I-set, and TRAFs expanded in C. virginica and Crassostrea gigas. Many key genes of the apoptosis system including IAP, BAX, BAC-2, caspase, FADD, and TNFR were identified, suggesting C. virginica posses advanced apoptosis and apoptosis-regulating systems. Our results show that short Illumina reads can produce transcriptomes of highly polymorphic genomes with coverage and integrity comparable to that from longer 454 reads. The expansion and high diversity in gene families related to innate immunity, point to a complex defense system in the lophotrochozoan C. virginica, probably in adaptation to a pathogen-rich environment.
Chitin and chitosan, typical marine polysaccharides as well as abundant biomass resources, are attracting a great deal of attention because of their distinctive biological and physicochemical characteristics. To fully explore the high potential of these specialty biopolymers, basic and application researches are being made extensively. This review deals with the fundamental aspects of chitin and chitosan such as the preparation of chitin and chitosan, crystallography, extent of N-acetylation, and some properties. Recent progress of their chemistry is then discussed, focusing on elemental modification reactions including acylation, alkylation, Schiff base formation and reductive alkylation, carboxyalkylation, phthaloylation, silylation, tosylation, quaternary salt formation, and sulfation and thiolation.
In addition to identifying the proteins that have a role in underwater adhesion by marine mussels, research efforts have focused on identifying the genes responsible for the adhesive proteins, environmental factors that may influence protein production, and strategies for producing natural adhesives similar to the native mussel adhesive proteins. The production-scale availability of recombinant mussel adhesive proteins will enable researchers to formulate adhesives that are water-impervious and ecologically safe and can bind materials ranging from glass, plastics, metals, and wood to materials, such as bone or teeth, biological organisms, and other chemicals or molecules. Unfortunately, as of yet scientists have been unable to duplicate the processes that marine mussels use to create adhesive structures. This study provides a background on adhesive proteins identified in the blue mussel, Mytilus edulis, and introduces our research interests and discusses the future for continued research related to mussel adhesion.
Pearl oyster Pinctada martensii is cultured for production of pearl in China. It needs to implant a mantle graft cut from a donor oyster and a seed nucleus into the gonad of the host oyster to produce a pearl. Pearl sac surrounding the nucleus is formed by the proliferation of the implanted mantle graft from the outer mantle epithelial cells in the host oyster. The pearl sac is responsible for production of a cultured pearl. A comprehensive transcriptome analysis on pearl sac will help to understand the mechanism on pearl formation and immune response of host oyster after nucleus implantation. In the present study, 39,400,004 reads were produced from the pearl sac using RNA-sequence technology and then assembled into 102,762 unigenes. More than 22.4% of these unigenes were possibly involved in approximately 219 known signaling pathways. A total of 37,188 unigenes were annotated based on sequences similarities with known proteins. Fifty-one biomineralization-related unigenes and 268 immune-related unigenes were not previously detected in P. martensii. The un-annotated unigenes may be some genes specifically existed in P. martensii. These annotated or un-annotated unigenes in the present studies were valuable for the future investigation on molecular mechanism of pearl formation and immune response of the species.
In the marine environment, biofilms on submerged surfaces can promote or discourage the settlement of invertebrate larvae and macroalgal spores. The settlement-mediating effects of biofilms are believed to involve a variety of biofilm attributes including surface chemistry, micro-topography, and a wide range of microbial products from small-molecule metabolites to high-molecular weight extracellular polymers. The settled organisms in turn can modify microbial species composition of biofilms and thus change the biofilm properties and dynamics. A better understanding of biofilm dynamics and chemical signals released and/or stored by biofilms will facilitate the development of antifouling and mariculture technologies. This review provides a brief account of 1) existing knowledge of marine biofilms that are relevant to settlement mediation, 2) biotechnological application of biofilms with respect to developing non-toxic antifouling technologies and improving the operation of aquaculture facilities, and 3) challenges and future directions for advancing our understanding of settlement-mediating functions of biofilms and for applying this knowledge to real-life situations.
Salicornia brachiata Roxb., an extreme halophyte, is a naturally adapted higher plant model for additional gene resources to engineer salt tolerance in plants. Ascorbate peroxidase (APX) plays a key role in protecting plants against oxidative stress and thus confers abiotic stress tolerance. A full-length SbpAPX cDNA, encoding peroxisomal ascorbate peroxidase, was cloned from S. brachiata. The open reading frame encodes for a polypeptide of 287 amino acid residues (31.3-kDa protein). The deduced amino acid sequence of the SbpAPX gene showed characteristic peroxisomal targeting sequences (RKRAI) and a C-terminal hydrophobic region of 39 amino acid residues containing a transmembrane domain (TMD) of 23 amino acid residues. Northern blot analysis showed elevated SbpAPX transcript in response to salt, cold, abscisic acid and salicylic acid stress treatments. The SbpAPX gene was transformed to tobacco for their functional validation under stresses. Transgenic plants over-expressing SbpAPX gene showed enhanced salt and drought stress tolerance compared to wild-type plants. Transgenic plants showed enhanced vegetative growth and germination rate both under normal and stressed conditions. Present study revealed that the SbpAPX gene is a potential candidate, which not only confers abiotic stress tolerance to plants but also seems to be involved in plant growth.
Body conformation is of great scientific and commercial interest for aquaculture fish species because it affects biological adaptation of the organism to environments, and is of economic importance to the aquaculture industry considering its direct effect on fillet yield. Catfish is the primary aquaculture species in the USA. Two major species used in the aquaculture industry, channel catfish and blue catfish, differ in body shape and therefore the backcross progenies serve as a good model for quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis. Here, a genome-wide association study (GWAS) with hybrid catfish was conducted to identify the QTL for body conformation, including deheaded body length (DBL), body length (BL), body depth (BD), and body breadth (BB), which were all standardized by cubic root of body weight. Overall, the results indicate that the traits are polygenic. For DBL, linkage group (LG) 2 and LG 24 contain significant QTL, and LG 13 and LG 26 contain suggestively associated QTL (−log10(P value) > 4.5). Compared with DBL, additional SNPs were identified to be associated with body length on LG 2, LG 7, and LG 18. Although no significant QTL for body depth was found, three suggestively associated QTLs were identified on LG 5, LG 13, and LG 14. No SNP for body breadth reached the threshold for suggestive association. Genes close to the associated SNPs were determined, many of which are known to be involved in bone development. This work therefore provides the basis for future identification of causal genes for the control of body conformation.
Fish species vary in their capacity to biosynthesize the n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA), eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids that are crucial to the health of higher vertebrates. The synthesis of LC-PUFA involves enzyme-mediated fatty acyl desaturation and elongation. Previously, a complementary DNA (cDNA) for an elongase, now termed elovl5a, had been cloned from Atlantic salmon. Here, we report on the cloning of two new elongase cDNAs: a second elovl5b elongase, corresponding to a 294-amino-acid (aa) protein, and an elovl2-like elongase, coding for a 287-aa protein, characterized for the first time in a nonmammalian vertebrate. Heterologous expression in yeast showed that the salmon Elovl5b elongated C18 and C20 PUFA, with low activity towards C22, while Elovl2 elongated C20 and C22 PUFA with lower activity towards C18 PUFA. All three transcripts showed predominant expression in the intestine and liver, followed by the brain. Elongase expression showed differential nutritional regulation. Levels of elovl5b and particularly of elovl2, but not of elovl5a, transcripts were significantly increased in liver of salmon fed vegetable oils (VO) compared to fish fed fish oil (FO). Intestinal expression showed a similar pattern. Phylogenetic comparisons indicate that, in contrast to salmon and zebra fish, Acanthopterygian fish species lack elovl2 which is consistent with their negligible ability to biosynthesize LC-PUFA and to adapt to VO dietary inclusion, compared to predominantly freshwater salmonids. Thus, the presence of elovl2 in salmon explains the ability of this species to biosynthesize LC-PUFA and may provide a biotechnological tool to produce enhanced levels of LC-PUFA, particularly DHA, in transgenic organisms.
Pearl oyster, Pinctada martensii, is a marine bivalve species widely distributed in tropic and subtropic marine coasts. Mantle is the special tissue of P. martensii that secretes biomineralization proteins inducing shell deposition as well as iridescent nacre both in the inner shell and artificial nucleus. The pearl oyster is very efficient for artificial pearl production and is therefore an ideal organism for studies into the processes of biomineralization. However, deficiency of transcriptome information limits the insight into biomineralization mechanisms and pearl formation. In this study, we sequenced and characterized the P. martensii mantle transcriptome using 454 pyrosequencing. A total of 25,723 unique transcripts were assembled from 220,824 quality reads, followed by annotation and Gene Ontology classification analysis. A total of 146 unique transcript segments homologous to 49 reference biomineralization genes were identified, including calcineurin-binding protein, amorphous calcium carbonate binding protein 1, calmodulin, calponin-like protein, carbonic anhydrase 1, glycine-rich shell matrix protein, lysine-rich matrix protein, mantle gene or protein, nacrein, pearlin, PIF, regucalcin, and shematrin. The sequence data enabled the identification of 10,285 potential single nucleotide polymorphism loci and 7,836 putative indels, providing a resource for molecular biomarker, population genetics, and functional genomic studies. A large number of candidate genes for biomineralization were identified, considerably enriching resources for the study of shell formation. These sequence data will notably advance biomineralization and transcriptome study in pearl oyster and other Pinctada species.
The purpose of the present study was to isolate marine culturable bacteria with antibacterial activity and hence a potential biotechnological use. Seawater samples (244) and 309 swab samples from biotic or abiotic surfaces were collected on a global Danish marine research expedition (Galathea 3). Total cell counts at the seawater surface were 5 × 105 to 106 cells/ml, of which 0.1–0.2% were culturable on dilute marine agar (20°C). Three percent of the colonies cultured from seawater inhibited Vibrio anguillarum, whereas a significantly higher proportion (13%) of colonies from inert or biotic surfaces was inhibitory. It was not possible to relate a specific kind of eukaryotic surface or a specific geographic location to a general high occurrence of antagonistic bacteria. Five hundred and nineteen strains representing all samples and geographic locations were identified on the basis of partial 16S rRNA gene sequence homology and belonged to three major groups: Vibrionaceae (309 strains), Pseudoalteromonas spp. (128 strains), and the Roseobacter clade (29 strains). Of the latter, 25 strains were identified as Ruegeria mobilis or pelagia. When re-testing against V. anguillarum, only 409 (79%) retained some level of inhibitory activity. Many strains, especially Pseudoalteromonas spp. and Ruegeria spp., also inhibited Staphylococcus aureus. The most pronounced antibacterial strains were pigmented Pseudoalteromonas strains and Ruegeria spp. The inhibitory, pigmented Pseudoalteromonas were predominantly isolated in warmer waters from swabs of live or inert surfaces. Ruegeria strains were isolated from all ocean areas except for Arctic and Antarctic waters and inhibitory activity caused by production of tropodithietic acid.
Hypoxic condition is common in aquaculture, leading to major economic losses. Genetic analysis of hypoxia tolerance, therefore, is not only scientifically significant, but also economically important. Catfish is generally regarded as being highly tolerant to low dissolved oxygen, but variations exist among various populations, strains, and species. In this study, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) using the catfish 250 K SNP array to identify quantitative trait locus (QTL) associated with tolerance to low dissolved oxygen in the channel catfish × blue catfish interspecific system. Four linkage groups (LG2, LG4, LG23, and LG29) were found to be associated with low oxygen tolerance in hybrid catfish. Multiple significant SNPs were found to be physically linked in genomic regions containing significant QTL for low oxygen tolerance on LG2 and LG23, and in those regions containing suggestively significant QTL on LG2, LG4, LG23, and LG29, suggesting that the physically linked SNPs were genuinely segregating and related with low oxygen tolerance. Analysis of genes within the associated genomic regions suggested that many of these genes were involved in VEGF, MAPK, mTOR, PI3K-Akt, P53-mediated apoptosis, and DNA damage checkpoint pathways. Comparative analysis indicated that most of the QTL at the species level, as analyzed by using the interspecific system, did not overlap with those identified from six strains of channel catfish, confirming the complexity of the genetic architecture of hypoxia tolerance in catfish.
In vertebrates, epigenetic modifications influence gene transcription, and an appropriate DNA methylation is critical in development. Indeed, a precise temporal and spatial pattern of early gene expression is mandatory for a normal embryogenesis. However, such a regulation and its underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood in more distant organisms such as Lophotrochozoa. Thus, despite DNA in the oyster genome being methylated, the role of DNA methylation in development is unknown. To clarify this point, oyster genomic DNA was examined during early embryogenesis and found differentially methylated. Reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction indicated stage-specific levels of transcripts encoding DNA-methyltransferase (DNMT) and methyl-binding domain proteins. In addition, as highlighted by electronic microscopy and immunohistochemistry, the DNMT inhibitor 5-aza-cytidine induced alterations in the quantity and the localisation of methylated DNA and severe dose-dependent development alterations and was lethal after zygotic genome reinitiation. Furthermore, methyl-DNA-immunoprecipitation–quantitative polymerase chain reaction revealed that the transcription level of most of the homeobox gene orthologues examined, but not of the other early genes investigated, was inversely correlated with their specific DNA methylation. Altogether, our results demonstrate that DNA methylation influences gene expression in Crassostrea gigas and is critical for oyster development, possibly by specifically controlling the transcription level of homeobox orthologues. These findings provide evidence for the importance of epigenetic regulation of development in Lophotrochozoans and bring new insights into the early life of C. gigas, one of the most important aquaculture resources worldwide.
Viral nervous necrosis disease (VNN), caused by nervous necrosis virus (NNV), is one major threat to mariculture. Identifying loci and understanding the mechanisms associated with resistance to VNN are important in selective breeding programs. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) using genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) to study the genomic architecture of resistance to NNV infection in Asian seabass. We genotyped 986 individuals from 43 families produced by 15 founders with 44498 bi-allelic genetic variants using GBS. The GWAS identified three genome-wide significant loci on chromosomes 16, 19, and 20, respectively, and six suggestive loci on chromosomes 1, 8, 14, 15, 21, and 24, respectively, associated with resistance to NNV infection measured as binary and quantitative traits. Using the 500 most significant markers in combination with a training population of 800 samples could reach a genomic prediction accuracy of 0.7. Candidate genes significantly associated with resistance to NNV, including lysine-specific demethylase 2A, beta-defensin 1, and cystatin-B, which play important roles in immune responses against virus infection, were identified. Almost all the candidate genes were differentially expressed in different tissues against NNV infection. The significant genetic variants can be used in genomic selection and help understand the mechanism of resistance to VNN. Future studies should use populations of large effective size and whole genome resequencing to identify more useful genetic variants.
Vibrio coralliilyticus is a bacterial pathogen which can affect a range of marine organisms, such as corals, fish and shellfish, with sometimes devastating consequences. However, little is known about the mechanisms involved in the host-pathogen interaction, especially within molluscan models. We applied gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)-based metabolomics to characterize the physiological responses in haemolymph of New Zealand Greenshell™ mussels (Perna canaliculus) injected with Vibrio sp. DO1 (V. coralliilyticus/neptunius-like isolate). Univariate data analyses of metabolite profiles in Vibrio-exposed mussels revealed significant changes in 22 metabolites at 6 h post-infection, compared to non-exposed mussels. Among them, 10 metabolites were up-regulated, while 12 metabolites were down-regulated in infected mussels. Multivariate analyses showed a clear distinction between infected and non-infected mussels. In addition, secondary pathway analyses indicated perturbations of the host innate immune system following infection, including oxidative stress, inflammation and disruption of the TCA cycle, change in amino acid metabolism and protein synthesis. These findings provide new insights into the pathogenic mechanisms of Vibrio infection of mussels and demonstrate our ability to detect detailed and rapid host responses from haemolymph samples using a metabolomics approach.
The Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) is one of the most important oysters cultured worldwide. To analyze the oyster genome and dissect growth-related traits, we constructed a sex-averaged linkage map by combining 64 genomic simple sequence repeats, 42 expressed sequence tag-derived SSRs, and 320 amplified fragment length polymorphism markers in an F1 full-sib family. A total of 426 markers were assigned to 11 linkage groups, spanning 558.2 cM with an average interval of 1.3 cM and 94.7% of genome coverage. Segregation distortion was significant for 18.8% of the markers (P < 0.05), and distorted markers tended to occur on some genetic regions or linkage groups. Most growth-related quantitative traits were highly significantly (P < 0.01) correlated, and principal component analysis obtained four principal components. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis identified three significant QTLs for two principal components, which explained 0.6–13.9% of the phenotypic variation. One QTL for sex was detected on linkage group 6, and the inheritabilities of sex for parental alleles and maternal alleles on that locus C15 are 39.8% and 0.01%, respectively. The constructed linkage map and determined QTLs can provide a tool for further genetic analysis of the traits and be potential for marker-assisted selection in C. gigas breeding.
Sex dimorphic growth pattern has significant theory and application implications in fish. Recently, a Y- and X-specific allele marker-assisted sex control technique has been developed for mass production of all-male population in yellow catfish (Pelteobagrus fulvidraco), but the genetic information for sex determination and sex control breeding has remained unclear. Here, we attempted to provide the first insight into a comprehensive transcriptome covering multiple tissues from XX females, XY males, and YY super-males of yellow catfish by using 454 GS-FLX platform, for a better assembly and gene coverage. A total of 1,202,933 high quality reads (about 540 Mbp) were obtained and assembled into 28,297 contigs and 141,951 singletons. BLASTX searches against the NCBI non-redundant protein database (nr) led a total of 52,564 unique sequences including 18,748 contigs and 33,816 singletons to match 25,669 known or predicted unique proteins. All of them with annotated function were categorized by gene ontology (GO) analysis, and 712 were assigned to reproduction and reproductive process. Some potential genes relevant to reproductive system including steroid hormone biosynthesis and GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) signaling pathway were further identified by Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analysis; and at least 21 sex determination and differentiation-related genes, such as Dmrt1, Sox9a/b, Cyp19b, WT1, and AMH were identified and characterized. Additionally, a total of 82,794 simple sequence repeats (SSRs), 26,450 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and 4,145 insertions and deletions (INDELs) were revealed from the transcriptome data. Therefore, the current transcriptome resources highlight further studies on sex-control breeding in yellow catfish and will benefit future studies on reproduction and sex determination in teleost fish.
Exposure to hypoxia induces both acute and chronic stress responses, which plays an important role in health of cultured organisms including growth, reproduction, immunity, and other energy demanding activities. Application of advanced genomic technologies allows rapid identification of hypoxia trait-associated genes and precise selection of superior brood stocks with high tolerance in tilapia. By applying QTL-seq and double-digest restriction-site associated DNA sequencing (ddRAD-seq) techniques, we identified four genome-wide significant quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for hypoxia tolerance and many suggestive QTLs in Nile tilapia. These QTLs explained 6.6–14.7% of the phenotypic variance. Further analysis revealed that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in exons of both GPR132 and ABCG4 genes located in genome-wide QTL intervals were significantly associated with hypoxia-tolerant traits. Expression analysis of both genes suggested that they were strong candidate genes involved into hypoxia tolerance in tilapia. Our findings suggest that both QTL-seq and ddRAD-seq techniques can be effectively utilized in QTL mapping of hypoxia traits in fish. Our data supply a basis for further marker-assisted selection of super lines with a high level of tolerance against low oxygen stress in the tilapia.
Yellow catfish has become one of the most important freshwater aquaculture species in China. The mono-sex male yellow catfish has important application value in aquaculture because the male grows generally faster than the sibling females under the same conditions. This study has screened YY super-male and YY physiological female yellow catfish by sex reversal, gynogenesis, and progeny testing, which can help to achieve the large-scale production of YY super-male and XY all-male. From 2008 to 2010, about 123,000 YY super-male were produced, and about 81 million XY all-male fry were produced with 100 % male rate by random sampling. Therefore, these results indicate that YY super-male and YY physiological female yellow catfish can be viable and fertile. We conclude that the mono-sex breeding technique by YY super-male yellow catfish is stable and reliable, which has great potential for application in yellow catfish aquaculture.
The Pacific white shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei is a predominant aquaculture shrimp species in the world. Like other animals, the L. vannamei exhibited sexual dimorphism in growth trait. Mapping of the sex-determining locus will be very helpful to clarify the sex determination system and further benefit the shrimp aquaculture industry towards the production of mono-sex stocks. Based on the data used for high-density linkage map construction, linkage-mapping analysis was conducted. The sex determination region was mapped in linkage group (LG) 18. A large region from 0 to 21.205 cM in LG18 showed significant association with sex. However, none of the markers in this region showed complete association with sex in the other populations. So an association analysis was designed using the female parent, pool of female progenies, male parent, and pool of male progenies. Markers were de novo developed and those showing significant differences between female and male pools were identified. Among them, three sex-associated markers including one fully associated marker were identified. Integration of linkage and association analysis showed that the sex determination region was fine-mapped in a small region along LG18. The identified sex-associated marker can be used for the sex detection of this species at genetic level. The fine-mapped sex-determining region will contribute to the mapping of sex-determining gene and help to clarify sex determination system for L. vannamei.