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1.  Atlantic Cod Piscidin and Its Diversification through Positive Selection 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9501.
Piscidins constitute a family of cationic antimicrobial peptides that are thought to play an important role in the innate immune response of teleosts. On the one hand they show a remarkable diversity, which indicates that they are shaped by positive selection, but on the other hand they are ancient and have specific targets, suggesting that they are constrained by purifying selection. Until now piscidins had only been found in fish species from the superorder Acanthopterygii but we have recently identified a piscidin gene in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), thus showing that these antimicrobial peptides are not restricted to evolutionarily modern teleosts. Nucleotide diversity was much higher in the regions of the piscidin gene that code for the mature peptide and its pro domain than in the signal peptide. Maximum likelihood analyses with different evolution models revealed that the piscidin gene is under positive selection. Charge or hydrophobicity-changing amino acid substitutions observed in positively selected sites within the mature peptide influence its amphipathic structure and can have a marked effect on its function. This diversification might be associated with adaptation to new habitats or rapidly evolving pathogens.
PMCID: PMC2830478  PMID: 20209162
2.  Five Different Piscidins from Nile Tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus: Analysis of Their Expressions and Biological Functions 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50263.
Piscidins are antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) that play important roles in helping fish resist pathogenic infections. Through comparisons of tilapia EST clones, the coding sequences of five piscidin-like AMPs (named TP1∼5) of Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, were determined. The complete piscidin coding sequences of TP1, -2, -3, -4, and -5 were respectively composed of 207, 234, 231, 270, and 195 bases, and each contained a translated region of 68, 77, 76, 89, and 64 amino acids. The tissue-specific, Vibrio vulnificus stimulation-specific, and Streptococcus agalactiae stimulation-specific expressions of TP2, -3, and -4 mRNA were determined by a comparative RT-PCR. Results of the tissue distribution analysis revealed high expression levels of TP2 mRNA in the skin, head kidneys, liver, and spleen. To study bacterial stimulation, S. agalactiae (SA47) was injected, and the TP4 transcript was upregulated by >13-fold (compared to the wild-type (WT) control, without injection) and was 60-fold upregulated (compared to the WT control, without injection) 24 h after the S. agalactiae (SA47) injection in the spleen and gills. Synthesized TP3 and TP4 peptides showed antimicrobial activities against several bacteria in this study, while the synthesized TP1, -2, and -5 peptides did not. The synthesized TP2, -3, and -4 peptides showed hemolytic activities and synthesized TP3 and TP4 peptides inhibited tilapia ovary cell proliferation with a dose-dependent effect. In summary, the amphiphilic α-helical cationic peptides of TP3 and TP4 may represent novel and potential antimicrobial agents for further peptide drug development.
PMCID: PMC3511469  PMID: 23226256
3.  “Specificity Determinants” Improve Therapeutic Indices of Two Antimicrobial Peptides Piscidin 1 and Dermaseptin S4 against the Gram-negative Pathogens Acinetobacter baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa 
Pharmaceuticals  2014;7(4):366-391.
A new class of antimicrobial agents with lower rates of resistance and different targets is urgently needed because of the rapidly increasing resistance to classical antibiotics. Amphipathic cationic α-helical antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) represent such a class of compounds. In our previous studies, using a 26-residue de novo designed antimicrobial peptide, we proposed the concept of “specificity determinant(s)”: positively charged residue(s) in the center of the non-polar face of AMPs that could decrease hemolytic activity/toxicity but increase or maintain the same level of antimicrobial activity to increase dramatically the therapeutic index. In the current study, we used d-enantiomers of two AMPs, Piscidin 1 isolated from fish and dermaseptin S4 isolated from frog. We substituted different positions in the center of the hydrophobic face with one or two lysine residue(s) (one or two “specificity determinant(s)”). This simple modification not only maintained or improved antimicrobial activity against Gram-negative pathogens Acinetobacter baumannii (11 strains) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (6 strains), but also dramatically decreased hemolytic activity of human red blood cells, as predicted. Therapeutic indices improved by 55-fold and 730-fold for piscidin 1 (I9K) and dermaseptin S4 (L7K, A14K), respectively, against A. baumannii. Similarly, the therapeutic indices improved 32-fold and 980-fold for piscidin 1 (I9K) and dermaseptin S4 (L7K, A14K), respectively, against P. aeruginosa.
PMCID: PMC4014698  PMID: 24670666
Acinetobacter baumannii; antimicrobial peptides; Gram-negative pathogens; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; specificity determinant(s); temperature-profiling by RP-HPLC
4.  Antimicrobial Peptides from Fish 
Pharmaceuticals  2014;7(3):265-310.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are found widely distributed through Nature, and participate in the innate host defense of each species. Fish are a great source of these peptides, as they express all of the major classes of AMPs, including defensins, cathelicidins, hepcidins, histone-derived peptides, and a fish-specific class of the cecropin family, called piscidins. As with other species, the fish peptides exhibit broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, killing both fish and human pathogens. They are also immunomodulatory, and their genes are highly responsive to microbes and innate immuno-stimulatory molecules. Recent research has demonstrated that some of the unique properties of fish peptides, including their ability to act even in very high salt concentrations, make them good potential targets for development as therapeutic antimicrobials. Further, the stimulation of their gene expression by exogenous factors could be useful in preventing pathogenic microbes in aquaculture.
PMCID: PMC3978493  PMID: 24594555
defensin; pleurocidin; cathelicidin; hepcidin; piscidin
5.  Differentially expressed proteins in the skin mucus of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) upon natural infection with Vibrio anguillarum 
Vibriosis caused by V. anguillarum is a commonly encountered disease in Atlantic cod farms and several studies indicate that the initiation of infection occurs after the attachment of the pathogen to the mucosal surfaces (gut, skin and gills) of fish. Therefore it is necessary to investigate the role of different mucosal components in fish upon V. anguillarum infection. The present study has two parts; in the first part we analyzed the differential expression of skin mucus proteins from Atlantic cod naturally infected with V. anguillarum using two dimensional gel electrophoresis coupled with mass spectrometry. In the second part, a separate bath challenge experiment with V. anguillarum was conducted to assess the mRNA levels of the genes in skin tissue, corresponding to the selected proteins identified in the first part.
Comparative proteome analysis of skin mucus of cod upon natural infection with V. anguillarum revealed key immune relevant proteins like calpain small subunit 1, glutathione-S-transferase omega 1, proteasome 26S subunit, 14-kDa apolipoprotein, beta 2-tubulin, cold inducible RNA binding protein, malate dehydrogenase 2 (mitochondrial) and type II keratin that exhibited significant differential expression. Additionally a number of protein spots which showed large variability amongst individual fish were also identified. Some of the proteins identified were mapped to the immunologically relevant JNK (c-Jun N-terminal kinases) signalling pathway that is connected to cellular events associated with pathogenesis. A bath challenge experiment with V. anguillarum showed differential expression of beta 2-tubulin, calpain small subunit 1, cold inducible RNA binding protein, flotillin1, and glutathione S-transferase omega 1 transcripts in the skin tissue of cod during early stages of infection.
Differentially expressed proteins identified in the cod skin mucus point towards their possible involvement in V. anguillarum pathogenesis. The role of some of these proteins in vibriosis in cod described in this paper can be considered unconventional with respect to their established functions in higher vertebrates. Based on the differential expression of these proteins they are possibly important components of fish defence against bacteria and innate immunity at large. The feasibility of utilizing these proteins/genes as markers of bacterial infection or stress in cod needs to be explored further.
PMCID: PMC3666997  PMID: 23672475
Comparative proteome; Skin mucosa; Atlantic cod; Vibrio anguillarum; Bath challenge
6.  Impact of acute stress on antimicrobial polypeptides mRNA copy number in several tissues of marine sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) 
BMC Immunology  2011;12:69.
In comparison to higher vertebrates, fish are thought to rely heavily on innate immune system for initial protection against pathogen invasion because their acquired immune system displays a considerably poor immunological memory, and short-lived secondary response. The endogenous antimicrobial polypeptides (AMPPs) directly and rapidly killing pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses are included within the realm of innate defenses. In addition to piscidins, AMPPs that in recent years have been shown to be commonly linked to innate defense, are histones and their polypeptide fragments, and peptides derived from the respiratory protein hemoglobin. There is evidence that a number of stresses lead to significant regulation of AMPPs and thus their monitoring could be a highly sensitive measure of health status and risk of an infectious disease outbreak, which is a major impediment to the continued success of virtually all aquaculture enterprises and is often the most significant cause of economic losses.
We firstly isolated and deposited in Genbank database the cDNA sequences encoding for hemoglobin-β-like protein (Hb-LP) [GeneBank: JN410659], H2B histone-like protein 1 (HLP1) GenBank: JN410660], and HLP2 [GenBank: JN410661]. The "de novo" prediction of the three-dimensional structures for each protein is presented. Phylogenetic trees were constructed on Hb-LP, HLP1, and HLP2 sequences of sea bass and those of other teleost, avian, reptiles, amphibian and mammalian species. We then used real time RT-PCR technology to monitor for the first time in sea bass, dynamic changes in mRNA copy number of Hb-LP, HLP1, HLP2, and dicentracin in gills, skin, eyes, stomach and proximal intestine in response to acute crowding/confinement stress. We showed that acute crowding stress induces an increase in the expression levels of the aforementioned genes, in gills and skin of sea bass, but not in other tissues, and that this expression patterns are not always rapidly reversed upon re-exposure to normal conditions.
The higher expression of the four target genes in gills and skin of sea bass suggests that this AMPP represents a first and immediate line of defense in combating pathogens and stressors since these tissues constitute the first physiological barriers of the animal.
PMCID: PMC3274460  PMID: 22204309
7.  High-Resolution Structures and Orientations of Antimicrobial Peptides Piscidin 1 and Piscidin 3 in Fluid Bilayers Reveal Tilting, Kinking, and Bilayer Immersion 
While antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have been widely investigated as potential therapeutics, high-resolution structures obtained under biologically relevant conditions are lacking. Here, the high-resolution structures of the homologous 22-residue long AMPs piscidin 1 (p1) and piscidin 3 (p3) are determined in fluid-phase 3:1 phosphatidylcholine/phosphatidylglycerol (PC/PG) and 1:1 phosphatidylethanolamine/phosphatidylglycerol (PE/PG) bilayers to identify molecular features important for membrane destabilization in bacterial cell membrane mimics. Structural refinement of 1H–15N dipolar couplings and 15N chemical shifts measured by oriented sample solid-state NMR and all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations provide structural and orientational information of high precision and accuracy about these interfacially bound α-helical peptides. The tilt of the helical axis, τ, is between 83° and 93° with respect to the bilayer normal for all systems and analysis methods. The average azimuthal rotation, ρ, is 235°, which results in burial of hydrophobic residues in the bilayer. The refined NMR and MD structures reveal a slight kink at G13 that delineates two helical segments characterized by a small difference in their τ angles (<10°) and significant difference in their ρ angles (∼25°). Remarkably, the kink, at the end of a G(X)4G motif highly conserved among members of the piscidin family, allows p1 and p3 to adopt ρ angles that maximize their hydrophobic moments. Two structural features differentiate the more potent p1 from p3: p1 has a larger ρ angle and less N-terminal fraying. The peptides have comparable depths of insertion in PC/PG, but p3 is 1.2 Å more deeply inserted than p1 in PE/PG. In contrast to the ideal α-helical structures typically assumed in mechanistic models of AMPs, p1 and p3 adopt disrupted α-helical backbones that correct for differences in the amphipathicity of their N- and C-ends, and their centers of mass lie ∼1.2–3.6 Å below the plane defined by the C2 atoms of the lipid acyl chains.
PMCID: PMC3985945  PMID: 24410116
8.  Development and Experimental Validation of a 20K Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua) Oligonucleotide Microarray Based on a Collection of over 150,000 ESTs 
The collapse of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) wild populations strongly impacted the Atlantic cod fishery and led to the development of cod aquaculture. In order to improve aquaculture and broodstock quality, we need to gain knowledge of genes and pathways involved in Atlantic cod responses to pathogens and other stressors. The Atlantic Cod Genomics and Broodstock Development Project has generated over 150,000 expressed sequence tags from 42 cDNA libraries representing various tissues, developmental stages, and stimuli. We used this resource to develop an Atlantic cod oligonucleotide microarray containing 20,000 unique probes. Selection of sequences from the full range of cDNA libraries enables application of the microarray for a broad spectrum of Atlantic cod functional genomics studies. We included sequences that were highly abundant in suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) libraries, which were enriched for transcripts responsive to pathogens or other stressors. These sequences represent genes that potentially play an important role in stress and/or immune responses, making the microarray particularly useful for studies of Atlantic cod gene expression responses to immune stimuli and other stressors. To demonstrate its value, we used the microarray to analyze the Atlantic cod spleen response to stimulation with formalin-killed, atypical Aeromonas salmonicida, resulting in a gene expression profile that indicates a strong innate immune response. These results were further validated by quantitative PCR analysis and comparison to results from previous analysis of an SSH library. This study shows that the Atlantic cod 20K oligonucleotide microarray is a valuable new tool for Atlantic cod functional genomics research.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10126-010-9335-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3139889  PMID: 21127932
Atlantic cod; Aquaculture; Microarray; Gene expression profiling
9.  Antimicrobial peptides bind more strongly to membrane pores 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2010;1798(8):1494-1502.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are small, usually cationic peptides, which permeabilize bacterial membranes. Understanding their mechanism of action might help design better antibiotics. Using an implicit membrane model, modified to include pores of different shapes, we show that four AMPs (alamethicin, melittin, a magainin analogue, MG-H2, and piscidin 1) bind more strongly to membrane pores, consistent with the idea that they stabilize them. The effective energy of alamethicin in cylindrical pores is similar to that in toroidal pores, whereas the effective energy of the other three peptides is lower in toroidal pores. Only alamethicin intercalates into the membrane core; MG-H2, melittin and piscidin are located exclusively at the hydrophobic/hydrophilic interface. In toroidal pores, the latter three peptides often bind at the edge of the pore, and are in an oblique orientation. The calculated binding energies of the peptides are correlated with their hemolytic activities. We hypothesize that one distinguishing feature of AMPs may be the fact that they are imperfectly amphipathic which allows them to bind more strongly to toroidal pores. An initial test on a melittin-based mutant seems to support this hypothesis.
PMCID: PMC2885479  PMID: 20188066
molecular dynamics simulations; antimicrobial peptides; toroidal pore; barrel-stave pore; implicit solvent
10.  Database screening and in vivo efficacy of antimicrobial peptides against meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus USA300 
Natural antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are promising candidates for developing a generation of new antimicrobials to meet the challenge of antibiotic-resistant pathogens such as meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). To facilitate the search for new candidates, we have utilised the Antimicrobial Peptide Database (APD), which contains natural AMPs from bacteria, fungi, plants and animals. This study demonstrates the identification of novel templates against MRSA by screening 30 peptides selected from the APD. These peptides are short (<25 residues), cysteine-free, cationic and represent candidates from different biological sources such as bacteria, insects, arachnids, tunicates, amphibians, fish and mammals. Six peptides, including ascaphin-8, database-screened antimicrobial peptide 1 (DASamP1), DASamP2, lycotoxin I, maculatin 1.3 and piscidin 1, were found to exert potent antimicrobial activity against an MRSA USA300 isolate. Although five of the six peptides showed broad-spectrum antibacterial activity, DASamP1 displayed killing of MRSA in vitro but not of Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis or Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In addition, DASamP1 suppressed early biofilm formation in a mouse model of catheter-associated MRSA infection. DASamP1 is a novel, short and potent peptide that will be a useful starting template for further developing novel anti-MRSA peptides.
PMCID: PMC3320733  PMID: 22445495
Antimicrobial peptides; Biofilms; Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
11.  Diversification of the expanded teleost-specific toll-like receptor family in Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua 
Toll-like receptors (Tlrs) are major molecular pattern recognition receptors of the innate immune system. Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) is the first vertebrate known to have lost most of the mammalian Tlr orthologues, particularly all bacterial recognising and other cell surface Tlrs. On the other hand, its genome encodes a unique repertoire of teleost-specific Tlrs. The aim of this study was to investigate if these duplicate Tlrs have been retained through adaptive evolution to compensate for the lack of other cell surface Tlrs in the cod genome.
In this study, one tlr21, 12 tlr22 and two tlr23 genes representing the teleost-specific Tlr family have been cloned and characterised in cod. Phylogenetic analysis grouped all tlr22 genes under a single clade, indicating that the multiple cod paralogues have arisen through lineage-specific duplications. All tlrs examined were transcribed in immune-related tissues as well as in stomach, gut and gonads of adult cod and were differentially expressed during early development. These tlrs were also differentially regulated following immune challenge by immersion with Vibrio anguillarum, indicating their role in the immune response. An increase in water temperature from 4 to 12°C was associated with a 5.5-fold down-regulation of tlr22d transcript levels in spleen. Maximum likelihood analysis with different evolution models revealed that tlr22 genes are under positive selection. A total of 24 codons were found to be positively selected, of which 19 are in the ligand binding region of ectodomain.
Positive selection pressure coupled with experimental evidence of differential expression strongly support the hypothesis that teleost-specific tlr paralogues in cod are undergoing neofunctionalisation and can recognise bacterial pathogen-associated molecular patterns to compensate for the lack of other cell surface Tlrs.
PMCID: PMC3549756  PMID: 23273344
Atlantic cod; Toll-like receptors; TLR; Innate immunity; Positive selection; Thermal stress; Neofunctionalisation
12.  Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) hemoglobin genes: multiplicity and polymorphism 
BMC Genetics  2009;10:51.
Hemoglobin (Hb) polymorphism, assessed by protein gel electrophoresis, has been used almost exclusively to characterize the genetic structure of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) populations and to establish correlations with phenotypic traits such as Hb oxygen binding capacity, temperature tolerance and growth characteristics. The genetic system used to explain the results of gel electrophoresis entails the presence of one polymorphic locus with two major alleles (HbI-1; HbI-2). However, vertebrates have more than one gene encoding Hbs and recent studies have reported that more than one Hb gene is present in Atlantic cod. These observations prompted us to re-evaluate the number of Hb genes expressed in Atlantic cod, and to perform an in depth search for polymorphisms that might produce relevant phenotypes for breeding programs.
Analysis of Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs) led to the identification of nine distinct Hb transcripts; four corresponding to the α Hb gene family and five to the β Hb gene family. To gain insights about the Hb genes encoding these transcripts, genomic sequence data was generated from heterozygous (HbI-1/2) parents and fifteen progeny; five of each HbI type, i.e., HbI-1/1, HbI-1/2 and HbI-2/2. β Hb genes displayed more polymorphism than α Hb genes. Two major allele types (β1A and β1B) that differ by two linked non-synonymous substitutions (Met55Val and Lys62Ala) were found in the β1 Hb gene, and the distribution of these β1A and β1B alleles among individuals was congruent with that of the HbI-1 and HbI-2 alleles determined by protein gel electrophoresis. RT-PCR and Q-PCR analysis of the nine Hb genes indicates that all genes are expressed in adult fish, but their level of expression varies greatly; higher expression of almost all Hb genes was found in individuals displaying the HbI-2/2 electrophoretic type.
This study indicates that more Hb genes are present and expressed in adult Atlantic cod than previously documented. Our finding that nine Hb genes are expressed simultaneously in adult fish suggests that Atlantic cod, similarly to fish such as rainbow trout, carp, and goldfish, might be able to respond to environmental challenges such as chronic hypoxia or long-term changes in temperature by altering the level of expression of these genes. In this context, the role of the non-conservative substitution Lys62Ala found in the β1 Hb gene, which appears to explain the occurrence of the HbI-1 and HbI-2 alleles described by gel electrophoresis, and which was found to be present in other fish such as eel, emerald rockcod, rainbow trout and moray, requires further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2757024  PMID: 19728884
13.  Physiological and Behavioural Responses to Noxious Stimuli in the Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100150.
In the present study, our aim was to compare physiological and behavioural responses to different noxious stimuli to those of a standardized innocuous stimulus, to possibly identify aversive responses indicative of injury detection in a commercially important marine teleost fish, the Atlantic cod. Individual fish were administered with a noxious stimulus to the lip under short-term general anaesthesia (MS-222). The noxious treatments included injection of 0.1% or 2% acetic acid, 0.005% or 0.1% capsaicin, or piercing the lip with a commercial fishing hook. Counts of opercular beat rate (OBR) at 10, 30, 60, 90 and 120 min and observations of behaviour at 30 and 90 min post-treatment were compared with pre-treatment values and with control fish injected with physiological saline, an innocuous stimulus. Circulatory levels of physiological stress indicators were determined in all fish at 120 minutes post-treatment. All treatments evoked temporarily increased OBR that returned to pre-treatment levels at 60 minutes (saline, 0.005% capsaicin, hook), 90 minutes (0.1% acetic acid, 0.1% capsaicin), or 120 minutes (2% acetic acid), but with no significant differences from the control group at any time point. Fish treated with 0.1% and 2% acetic acid and 0.1% capsaicin displayed increased hovering close to the bottom of the aquaria and fish given 2% acetic acid and 0.1% capsaicin also displayed a reduced use of shelter. The only effect seen in hooked fish was brief episodes of lateral head shaking which were not seen pre-treatment or in the other groups, possibly reflecting a resiliency to tissue damage in the mouth area related to the tough nature of the Atlantic cod diet. There were no differences between groups in circulatory stress indicators two hours after treatment. This study provides novel data on behavioural indicators that could be used to assess potentially aversive events in Atlantic cod.
PMCID: PMC4061104  PMID: 24936652
14.  The Effect of an Adding Histidine on Biological Activity and Stability of Pc-pis from Pseudosciaena crocea 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e83268.
Pc-pis is a novel piscidin-like antimicrobial polypeptide that was identified in Pseudosciaena crocea. Although active against most bacteria tested, Pc-pis was inactive against Aeromonas hydrophila and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The Pc-pis analogue Pc-pis-His was designed by adding a histidine residue at the carboxyl terminal. Pc-pis-His demonstrated a more broad-spectrum and stronger antimicrobial activity against a representative set of microorganisms and more potent antiparasitic activity against Cryptocaryon irritans trophonts than Pc-pis. The stability assay revealed that Pc-pis-His was active against Staphylococcus aureus not only in acidic (pH 5.5–7.3) and relatively low concentration monovalent cation (0–160 mM NaCl) environments but also in alkaline (pH 7.5–9.5), divalent cation (1.25–160 mM MgCl2 and 1.25–40 mM CaCl2) and high concentration monovalent cation (320–2560 mM NaCl) environments, which indicates that the added histidine residue conferred better salt-, acid- and alkali-tolerance to Pc-pis-His. Pc-pis-His also possessed the desired heat-tolerance, which was reflected by the antimicrobial activity of the peptide after being boiled for 10–60 minutes. Hemolytic activity analysis revealed that Pc-pis-His at concentrations up to 6 µM exhibited no hemolysis against human erythrocytes, with 6 µM being a concentration that is highly active against most of the microorganisms tested, although the hemolytic activity of Pc-pis-His was enhanced compared to Pc-pis. These results provide a unique, reasonable basis for designing novel piscidins with potent, broad-spectrum and stable antimicrobial activity and new insight into the future development of piscidins as potential therapeutic agents against microbial and external protozoan parasite infections.
PMCID: PMC3862765  PMID: 24349477
15.  Evidence of an Antimicrobial-Immunomodulatory Role of Atlantic Salmon Cathelicidins during Infection with Yersinia ruckeri 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23417.
Cathelicidins are a family of antimicrobial peptides that act as effector molecules of the innate immune system with broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties. These evolutionary conserved cationic host-defence peptides are integral components of the immune response of fish, which are generally believed to rely heavily on innate immune defences to invading pathogens. In this study we showed that Atlantic salmon cathelicidin 1 and 2 (asCATH1 and asCATH2) stimulated peripheral blood leukocytes increasing the transcription of the chemokine interleukin-8. Further, functional differences were identified between the two cathelicidins. In the presence of serum, asCATH1 displayed greatly diminished host haemolytic activity, while the constitutively expressed asCATH2 had no haemolytic activity with or without serum. These findings support our hypothesis that fish cathelicidins exert their primary antimicrobial action at the site of pathogen invasion such as epithelial surfaces. Further, we hypothesise that like their mammalian counterparts in the presence of serum they act as mediators of the innate and adaptive immune response via the release of cytokines thus indirectly protecting against a variety of pathogens. We highlight the importance of this immunomodulatory role from the involvement of asCATHs during an infection with the fish pathogen Yersinia ruckeri. While we were able to demonstrate in vitro that asCATH1 and 2, possessed direct microbicidal activity against the fish pathogen, Vibrio anguillarum, and a common gram negative bacterium, Escherichia coli, little or no bactericidal activity was found against Y. ruckeri. The contribution of either asCATH in the immune response or as a potential virulence factor during yersiniosis is highlighted from the increased expression of asCATH1 and 2 mRNA during an in vivo challenge with Y. ruckeri . We propose that Atlantic salmon cathelicidins participate in the interplay between the innate and adaptive immune systems via the release of cytokines enabling a more effective response to invading pathogens.
PMCID: PMC3153500  PMID: 21858109
16.  Genomic organization and gene expression of the multiple globins in Atlantic cod: conservation of globin-flanking genes in chordates infers the origin of the vertebrate globin clusters 
The vertebrate globin genes encoding the α- and β-subunits of the tetrameric hemoglobins are clustered at two unlinked loci. The highly conserved linear order of the genes flanking the hemoglobins provides a strong anchor for inferring common ancestry of the globin clusters. In fish, the number of α-β-linked globin genes varies considerably between different sublineages and seems to be related to prevailing physico-chemical conditions. Draft sequences of the Atlantic cod genome enabled us to determine the genomic organization of the globin repertoire in this marine species that copes with fluctuating environments of the temperate and Arctic regions.
The Atlantic cod genome was shown to contain 14 globin genes, including nine hemoglobin genes organized in two unlinked clusters designated β5-α1-β1-α4 and β3-β4-α2-α3-β2. The diverged cod hemoglobin genes displayed different expression levels in adult fish, and tetrameric hemoglobins with or without a Root effect were predicted. The novel finding of maternally inherited hemoglobin mRNAs is consistent with a potential role played by fish hemoglobins in the non-specific immune response. In silico analysis of the six teleost genomes available showed that the two α-β globin clusters are flanked by paralogs of five duplicated genes, in agreement with the proposed teleost-specific duplication of the ancestral vertebrate globin cluster. Screening the genome of extant urochordate and cephalochordate species for conserved globin-flanking genes revealed linkage of RHBDF1, MPG and ARHGAP17 to globin genes in the tunicate Ciona intestinalis, while these genes together with LCMT are closely positioned in amphioxus (Branchiostoma floridae), but seem to be unlinked to the multiple globin genes identified in this species.
The plasticity of Atlantic cod to variable environmental conditions probably involves the expression of multiple globins with potentially different properties. The interspecific difference in number of fish hemoglobin genes contrasts with the highly conserved synteny of the flanking genes. The proximity of globin-flanking genes in the tunicate and amphioxus genomes resembles the RHBDF1-MPG-α-globin-ARHGAP17-LCMT linked genes in man and chicken. We hypothesize that the fusion of the three chordate linkage groups 3, 15 and 17 more than 800 MYA led to the ancestral vertebrate globin cluster during a geological period of increased atmospheric oxygen content.
PMCID: PMC2975663  PMID: 20961401
17.  Warm water occupancy by North Sea cod 
The North Sea has warmed in recent years and there is an ongoing debate into how this is affecting the distribution of fishes and other marine organisms. Of particular interest is the commercially important Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.), which has declined sharply in abundance in the North Sea over the past 20 years. Observations of the temperature experienced by 129 individual cod throughout the North Sea were made during a large-scale electronic tagging programme conducted between 1999 and 2005. We asked whether individual cod fully occupied the thermal habitat available to them. To this end, we compared the temperature experience of cod with independently measured contemporaneous sea-bottom temperature data. The majority of cod experienced a warmer fraction of the sea than was potentially available to them. By summer, most of the individuals in the south experienced temperatures considered superoptimal for growth. Cooler waters were within the reach of the cod and a small number of individuals migrated to areas that allowed them to experience lower temperatures, indicating that the cod had the capacity to find cooler water. Most did not, however, suggesting that the changing thermal regime of the North Sea is not yet causing adult cod to move to cooler waters.
PMCID: PMC2093972  PMID: 17251093
fishes; electronic tags; temperature; movement; distribution; population structure
18.  Molecular identification and transmission studies of X-cell parasites from Atlantic cod Gadus morhua (Gadiformes: Gadidae) and the northern black flounder Pseudopleuronectes obscurus (Pleuronectiformes: Pleuronectidae) 
Parasites & Vectors  2011;4:15.
Epidermal pseudotumours from Hippoglossoides dubius and Acanthogobius flavimanus in Japan and gill lesions in Limanda limanda from the UK have been shown to be caused by phylogenetically related protozoan parasites, known collectively as X-cells. However, the phylogenetic position of the X-cell group is not well supported within any of the existing protozoan phyla and they are currently thought to be members of the Alveolata.
Ultrastructural features of X-cells in fish pseudotumours are somewhat limited and no typical environmental stages, such as spores or flagellated cells, have been observed. The life cycles for these parasites have not been demonstrated and it remains unknown how transmission to a new host occurs.
In the present study, pseudobranchial pseudotumours from Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua, in Iceland and epidermal pseudotumours from the northern black flounder, Pseudopleuronectes obscurus, in Japan were used in experimental transmission studies to establish whether direct transmission of the parasite is achievable. In addition, X-cells from Atlantic cod were sequenced to confirm whether they are phylogenetically related to other X-cells and epidermal pseudotumours from the northern black flounder were analysed to establish whether the same parasite is responsible for infecting different flatfish species in Japan.
Phylogenetic analyses of small subunit ribosomal DNA (SSU rDNA) sequence data from Atlantic cod X-cells show that they are a related parasite that occupies a basal position to the clade containing other X-cell parasites. The X-cell parasite causing epidermal pseudotumours in P. obscurus is the same parasite that causes pseudotumours in H. dubius. Direct, fish to fish, transmission of the X-cell parasites used in this study, via oral feeding or injection, was not achieved. Non-amoeboid X-cells are contained within discrete sac-like structures that are loosely attached to epidermal pseudotumours in flatfish; these X-cells are able to tolerate exposure to seawater.
A sensitive nested PCR assay was developed for the sub clinical detection of both parasites and to assist in future life cycle studies. PCR revealed that the parasite in P. obscurus was detectable in non-pseudotumourous areas of fish that had pseudotumours present in other areas of the body.
The inability to successfully transmit both parasites in this study suggests that either host detachment combined with a period of independent development or an alternate host is required to complete the life cycle for X-cell parasites. Phylogenetic analyses of SSU rDNA confirm a monophyletic grouping for all sequenced X-cell parasites, but do not robustly support their placement within any established protist phylum. Analysis of SSU rDNA from X-cells in Japanese flatfish reveals that the same parasite can infect more than one species of fish.
PMCID: PMC3045979  PMID: 21299903
19.  Validation of reference genes for quantitative RT-qPCR studies of gene expression in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua l.) during temperature stress 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:104.
One important physiological response to environmental stress in animals is change in gene expression. To obtain reliable data from gene expression studies using RT-qPCR it is important to evaluate a set of possible reference genes as normalizers for expression. The expression of these candidate genes should be analyzed in the relevant tissues during normal and stressed situations. To find suitable reference genes it was crucial that the genes were stably expressed also during a situation of physiological stress. For poikilotermic animals like cod, changes in temperature are normal, but if the changes are faster than physiological compensation, the animals respond with typical stress responses. It has previously been shown that Atlantic cod show stress responses when elevation of water temperature is faster than 1 degree/day, for this reason we chose hyperthermia as stress agent for this experiment.
We here describe the expression of eight candidate reference genes from Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua l.) and their stability during thermal stress (temperature elevation of one degree C/day for 5 days). The genes investigated were: Eukaryotic elongation factor 1 alpha, ef1a; 18s ribosomal RNA; 18s, Ubiquitin conjugate protein; ubiq, cytoskeletal beta-actin; actb, major histcompatibility complex I; MHC-I light chain, beta-2 -microglobulin; b2m, cytoskeletal alpha-tubulin; tba1c, acidic ribosomal phosphoprotein; rplp1, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase; g6pd. Their expression were analyzed in 6 tissues (liver, head kidney, intestine, spleen, heart and gills) from cods exposed to elevated temperature and compared to a control group. Although there were variations between tissues with respect to reference gene stability, four transcripts were more consistent than the others: ubiq, ef1a, 18s and rplp1. We therefore used these to analyze the expression of stress related genes (heat shock proteins) induced during hyperthermia. We found that both transcripts were significantly upregulated in several tissues in fish exposed to increased temperature.
This is the first study comparing reference genes for RT-qPCR analyses of expression during hyperthermia in Atlantic cod. ef1a, 18s, rplp1 and ubiq transcripts were found to be well suited as reference genes during these experimental conditions.
PMCID: PMC3080820  PMID: 21466674
20.  Molecular characterization of the evolution of phagosomes 
First large-scale comparative proteomics/phosphoproteomics study characterizing some of the key steps that contributed to the remodeling of phagosomes that occurred during evolution. Comparison of profiling analyses of isolated phagosomes from three distant organisms (Dictyostelium, Drosophila, and mouse) revealed a protein core that defines a potential ‘ancient' phagosome and a set of 50 proteins that emerged while adaptive immunity was already well established.Gene duplication events of mouse phagosome paralogs occurred mostly in Bilateria and Euteleostomi, coinciding with the emergence of innate and adaptive immunity, and thus, provided the functional innovations needed for the establishment of these two crucial evolutionary steps of the immune system.Phosphoproteomics of isolated phagosomes from the same three distant species indicate that the phagosome phosphoproteome has been extensively modified during evolution. Still, some phosphosites have been maintained for >1.2 billion years, and thus, highlight their particular significance in the regulation of key phagosomal functions.
Phagocytosis is the process by which multiple cell types internalize large particulate material from the external milieu. The functional properties of phagosomes are acquired through a complex maturation process, referred to as phagolysosome biogenesis. This pathway involves a series of rapid interactions with organelles of the endocytic apparatus, enabling the gradual transformation of newly formed phagosomes into phagolysosomes in which proteolytic degradation occurs. The degradative environment encountered in the phagosome lumen has enabled the use of phagocytosis as a predation mechanism for feeding (phagotrophy) in amoeba, whereas multicellular organisms utilize this process as a defense mechanism to kill microbes and, in jawed vertebrates (fish), initiate a sustained immune response.
High-throughput proteomics profiling of isolated phagosomes has been tremendously helpful for the molecular comprehension of this organelle. This approach is achieved by feeding low buoyancy latex beads to phagocytic cells, enabling the subsequent isolation of latex bead-containing phagosomes, away from all the other cell organelles, by a single-isopicnic centrifugation in sucrose gradient. In order to characterize some of the key steps that contributed to the remodeling of phagosomes during evolution, we isolated this organelle from three distant organisms: the amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, and mouse (Mus musculus) that use phagocytosis for different purposes, and performed detailed proteomics and phosphoproteomics analyses with unparallel protein coverage for this organelle (two- to four-fold enhancements in identified proteins).
In order to establish the origin of the mouse phagosome proteome, we performed comparative analyses among 39 taxa including plants/algea, unicellular organisms, fungi, and more complex animal multicellular organisms. These genomic comparisons indicated that a large proportion of the mouse phagosome proteome is of ancient origin (73.1% of the proteome is conserved in eukaryotic organisms) (Figure 2A). This stresses the fact that phagocytosis is a very ancient process, as shown by its possible involvement in the emergence of eukaryotic cells (eukaryogenesis). Indeed, we identified close to 300 phagosome mouse proteins also present on Drosophila and Dictyostelium phagosomes, defining a potential ‘ancient' core of proteins from which the immune functions of phagosomes likely evolved. Around 16.7% of the mouse phagosome proteins appeared in organisms that use phagocytosis for innate immunity (Bilateria to Chordata), whereas 10.2% appeared in Euteleostomi or Tetrapoda where phagosomes have an important function in linking the killing of microorganisms with the development of a specific sustained immune response following antigen recognition. The phagosome is made of molecules taken from a variety of sources within the cell, including the cytoplasm, the cytoskeleton and membrane organelles. Despite the evolution and diversification of these various cellular systems, the mammalian phagosome proteome is made preferentially of ancient proteins (Figure 2B). Comparison of functional annotation during evolution highlighted the emergence of specific phagosomal functions at various steps during evolution (Figure 2C). Some of these proteins and their point of origin during evolution are highlighted in Figure 2D. Strikingly, we identified in Tetrapods a set of 50 proteins that arose while adaptive immunity was already well established in teleosts (fish), indicating that the phagocytic system is still evolving.
Our study highlights the fact that the functional properties of phagosomes emerged by the remodeling of ancient molecules, the addition of novel components, and the duplication of existing proteins (paralogs) leading to the formation of molecular machines of mixed origin. Gene duplication is a process that contributed continuously to the complexification of the mouse proteome during evolution. In sharp contrast, paralog analysis indicated that the phagosome proteome was mainly reorganized through two periods of gene duplication, in Bilateria and Euteleostomi, coinciding with the emergence of adaptive immunity (in jawed fish), and innate immunity (at the split between Metazoa and Bilateria). These results strongly suggest that selective constraints may have favored the maintenance of phagosome paralogs to ensure the establishment of novel functions associated with this organelle at these two crucial evolutionary steps of the immune system.
The emergence of genes associated to the MHC locus in mammals that appeared originally in the genome of jawed fishes, contributed to the development of complex molecular mechanisms linking innate (our immune system that defends the host from infection in a non-specific manner) and adaptive immunity (the part of the immune system triggered specifically after antigen recognition). Several of the genes of this locus encode proteins known to have important functions in antigen presentation, such as subunits of the immunoproteasome (LMP2 and LMP7), MHC class I and class II molecules, as well as tapasin and the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP1 and TAP2), involved in the transport and loading of peptides on MHC class I molecules (Figure 6). In addition to their ability to present peptides on MHC class II molecules, phagosomes of vertebrates have been shown to be competent for the presentation of exogenous peptides on MHC class I molecules, a process referred to as cross-presentation. From a functional point of view, the involvement of phagosomes in antigen cross-presentation is the outcome of the successful integration of a wide range of multimolecular components that emerged throughout evolution (Figure 6). The trimming of exogenous proteins into small peptides that can be loaded on MHC class I molecules is inherited from the phagotrophic properties of unicellular organisms, where internalized bacteria are degraded into basic molecules and used as a source of nutrients. Ancient processes have therefore been co-opted (the use of an existing biological structure or feature for a new function) for new functionalities. A summarizing model of the various steps that enabled phagosome antigen presentation is presented in Figure 6. This model highlights the fact that although antigen presentation is unique to evolutionary recent phagosomes (starting in jawed fishes about 450 million years ago), it uses and integrates molecular machines composed of proteins that emerged throughout evolution.
In summary, we present here the first large-scale comparative proteomics/phosphoproteomics study characterizing some of the key evolutionary steps that contributed to the remodeling of phagosomes during evolution. Functional properties of this organelle emerged by the remodeling of ancient molecules, the addition of novel components, the extensive adaption of protein phosphorylation sites and the duplication of existing proteins leading to the formation of molecular machines of mixed origin.
Amoeba use phagocytosis to internalize bacteria as a source of nutrients, whereas multicellular organisms utilize this process as a defense mechanism to kill microbes and, in vertebrates, initiate a sustained immune response. By using a large-scale approach to identify and compare the proteome and phosphoproteome of phagosomes isolated from distant organisms, and by comparative analysis over 39 taxa, we identified an ‘ancient' core of phagosomal proteins around which the immune functions of this organelle have likely organized. Our data indicate that a larger proportion of the phagosome proteome, compared with the whole cell proteome, has been acquired through gene duplication at a period coinciding with the emergence of innate and adaptive immunity. Our study also characterizes in detail the acquisition of novel proteins and the significant remodeling of the phagosome phosphoproteome that contributed to modify the core constituents of this organelle in evolution. Our work thus provides the first thorough analysis of the changes that enabled the transformation of the phagosome from a phagotrophic compartment into an organelle fully competent for antigen presentation.
PMCID: PMC2990642  PMID: 20959821
evolution; immunity; phosphoproteomics; phylogeny; proteomics
21.  Altered gene expression patterns of innate and adaptive immunity pathways in transgenic rainbow trout harboring Cecropin P1 transgene 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):887.
We have recently developed several homozygous families of transgenic rainbow trout harbouring cecropin P1 transgene. These fish exhibit resistance characteristic to infection by Aeromonas salmonicida and infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV). In our earlier studies we have reported that treatment of a rainbow trout macrophage cell line (RTS11) with a linear cationic α-helical antimicrobial peptide (e.g., cecropin B) resulted in elevated levels of expression of two pro-inflammatory relevant genes (e.g., IL-1β and COX-2). Therefore, we hypothesized that in addition to the direct antimicrobial activity of cecropin P1 in the disease resistant transgenic rainbow trout, this antimicrobial peptide may also affect the expression of immune relevant genes in the host. To confirm this hypothesis, we launched a study to determine the global gene expression profiles in three immune competent organs of cecropin P1 transgenic rainbow trout by using a 44k salmonid microarray.
From the microarray data, a total of 2480 genes in the spleen, 3022 in the kidney, and 2102 in the liver were determined as differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in the cecropin P1 transgenic rainbow trout when compared to the non-transgenics. There were 478 DEGs in common among three tissues. Enrichment analyses conducted by two different bioinformatics tools revealed a tissue specific profile of functional pathway perturbation. Many of them were directly related to innate immune system such as phagocytosis, lysosomal processing, complement activation, antigen processing/presentation, and leukocyte migration. Perturbation of other biological functions that might contribute indirectly to host immunity was also observed.
The gene product of cecropin P1 transgene produced in the disease resistant transgenic rainbow trout not only can kill the pathogens directly but also exert multifaceted immunomodulatory properties to boost host immunity. The identified genes involved in different pathways related to immune function are valuable indicators associated with enhanced host immunity. These genes may serve as markers for selective breeding of rainbow trout or other aquaculture important fish species bearing traits of disease resistance.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-887) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4201688  PMID: 25306446
Rainbow trout; Disease resistant transgenic fish; Cecropin; Antimicrobial peptide; Microarray; Innate/adaptive immunity
22.  The genome sequence of Atlantic cod reveals a unique immune system 
Nature  2011;477(7363):207-210.
Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) is a large, cold-adapted teleost that sustains long-standing commercial fisheries and incipient aquaculture1,2. Here we present the genome sequence of Atlantic cod, showing evidence for complex thermal adaptations in its haemoglobin gene cluster and an unusual immune architecture compared to other sequenced vertebrates. The genome assembly was obtained exclusively by 454 sequencing of shotgun and paired-end libraries, and automated annotation identified 22,154 genes. The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) II is a conserved feature of the adaptive immune system of jawed vertebrates3,4, but we show that Atlantic cod has lost the genes for MHCII, CD4 and Ii that are essential for the function of this pathway. Nevertheless, Atlantic cod is not exceptionally susceptible to disease under natural conditions5. We find a highly expanded number of MHCI genes and a unique composition of its Toll-like receptor (TLR) families. This suggests how the Atlantic cod immune system has evolved compensatory mechanisms within both adaptive and innate immunity in the absence of MHCII. These observations affect fundamental assumptions about the evolution of the adaptive immune system and its components in vertebrates.
PMCID: PMC3537168  PMID: 21832995
23.  Infectious salmon anaemia virus replication and induction of alpha interferon in Atlantic salmon erythrocytes 
Virology Journal  2008;5:36.
Infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) virus (ISAV), which causes ISA in marine-farmed Atlantic salmon, is an orthomyxovirus belonging to the genus Isavirus, family Orthomyxoviridae. ISAV agglutinates erythrocytes of several fish species and it is generally accepted that the ISAV receptor destroying enzyme dissolves this haemagglutination except for Atlantic salmon erythrocytes. Recent work indicates that ISAV isolates that are able to elute from Atlantic salmon erythrocytes cause low mortality in challenge experiments using Atlantic salmon. Previous work on ISAV-induced haemagglutination using the highly pathogenic ISAV strain NBISA01 and the low pathogenic ISAV strain RPC/NB-04-0851, showed endocytosis of NBISA01 but not RPC/NB-04-0851. Real-time RT-PCR was used to assess the viral RNA levels in the ISAV-induced haemagglutination reaction samples, and we observed a slight increase in viral RNA transcripts by 36 hours in the haemagglutination reaction with NBISA01 virus when the experiment was terminated. However, a longer sampling interval was considered necessary to confirm ISAV replication in fish erythrocytes and to determine if the infected cells mounted any innate immune response. This study examined the possible ISAV replication and Type I interferon (IFN) system gene induction in Atlantic salmon erythrocytes following ISAV haemagglutination.
Haemagglutination assays were performed using Atlantic salmon erythrocytes and one haemagglutination unit of the two ISAV strains, NBISA01 and RPC/NB-04-0851, of differing genotypes and pathogenicities. Haemagglutination induced by the highly pathogenic NBISA01 but not the low pathogenic RPC/NB-04-0851 resulted in productive infection as evidenced by increased ISAV segment 8 transcripts and increase in the median tissue culture infectious dose (TCID50) by 5 days of incubation. Moreover, reverse transcription (RT) quantitative PCR used to compare mRNA levels of key Type I IFN system genes in erythrocyte lysates of haemagglutination reactions with the two ISAV strains showed a higher relative fold increase of IFN-α in NBISA01 haemagglutinations compared to RPC/NB-04-085-1 haemagglutinations (33.0 – 44.26 relative fold increase compared to 11.29). Erythrocytes exposed to heat-inactivated virus or to polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (polyI:C) or to L-15 medium alone (negative control assays) had minimal late induction (<3.5 relative fold increase) of STAT1 and/or ISG15 and Mx genes, whereas erythrocytes exposed to UV-inactivated virus lacked any cytokine induction.
ISAV-induced haemagglutination by a highly pathogenic virus strain results in virus uptake and productive infection of Atlantic salmon erythrocytes accompanied by significant induction of IFN-α. This study also highlights the critical role of ISAV strain variation in the initial stages of the virus-cell interaction during haemagglutination, and possibly in the pathogenesis of ISA. Moreover, the study shows for the first time that fish erythrocytes immunologically respond to ISAV infection.
PMCID: PMC2292172  PMID: 18307775
24.  Functional Identification of Dendritic Cells in the Teleost Model, Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33196.
Dendritic cells are specialized antigen presenting cells that bridge innate and adaptive immunity in mammals. This link between the ancient innate immune system and the more evolutionarily recent adaptive immune system is of particular interest in fish, the oldest vertebrates to have both innate and adaptive immunity. It is unknown whether dendritic cells co-evolved with the adaptive response, or if the connection between innate and adaptive immunity relied on a fundamentally different cell type early in evolution. We approached this question using the teleost model organism, rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), with the aim of identifying dendritic cells based on their ability to stimulate naïve T cells. Adapting mammalian protocols for the generation of dendritic cells, we established a method of culturing highly motile, non-adherent cells from trout hematopoietic tissue that had irregular membrane processes and expressed surface MHCII. When side-by-side mixed leukocyte reactions were performed, these cells stimulated greater proliferation than B cells or macrophages, demonstrating their specialized ability to present antigen and therefore their functional homology to mammalian dendritic cells. Trout dendritic cells were then further analyzed to determine if they exhibited other features of mammalian dendritic cells. Trout dendritic cells were found to have many of the hallmarks of mammalian DCs including tree-like morphology, the expression of dendritic cell markers, the ability to phagocytose small particles, activation by toll-like receptor-ligands, and the ability to migrate in vivo. As in mammals, trout dendritic cells could be isolated directly from the spleen, or larger numbers could be derived from hematopoietic tissue and peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro.
PMCID: PMC3299753  PMID: 22427987
25.  Composition and structure of the parasite faunas of cod, Gadus morhua L. (Teleostei: Gadidae), in the North East Atlantic 
Parasites & Vectors  2008;1:23.
Although numerous studies on parasites of the Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua L. have been conducted in the North Atlantic, comparative analyses on local cod parasite faunas are virtually lacking. The present study is based on examination of large samples of cod from six geographical areas of the North East Atlantic which yielded abundant baseline data on parasite distribution and abundance.
Materials and Methods
A total of 826 fish was sampled in the Baltic, Celtic, Irish and North seas, Icelandic waters and Trondheimsfjord (Norway) in 2002 (spring and autumn) and 2003 (spring). The gills and internal organs (oesophagus, stomach, intestine, pyloric caeca, liver, heart, spleen, gall bladder and gonads) were examined for macroparasites following a standardised protocol. The taxonomic consistency of the identification was ensured thorough the entire study.
We discuss some problems in parasite identification, outline the composition of the parasite faunas in cod in the six North East Atlantic regions, provide novel data on parasite prevalence and abundance and a comparative assessment of the structure of the regional parasite faunas with respect to the higher-level taxonomic groupings, host specificity and zoogeographical distribution of the parasites. Altogether 57 different parasite forms were found including seven new host records (Diclidophora merlangi, Rhipidocotyle sp., Fellodistomum sp., Steringotrema sp., Cucullanus sp., Spinitectus sp., and Chondracanthus ornatus). The predominant groups of cod parasites were trematodes (19 species) and nematodes (13 species) including larval anisakids which comprised 58.2% of the total number of individuals.
Our study reveals relatively rich regional parasite faunas in cod from the North East Atlantic which are dominated by generalist parasites with Arcto-Boreal distribution. Further, it provides more detailed data on the distribution in the North East Atlantic of the majority of cod parasites which may serve as baselines for future studies on the effect of climate change. Based on the faunal comparisons, predictions can be made in relation to the structure and diversity of the parasite communities in the North East Atlantic regions studied.
PMCID: PMC2503959  PMID: 18638387

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