Background: Despite rhabdoviral infections being one of the best known fish diseases, the gene expression changes induced at the surface tissues after the natural route of infection (infection-by-immersion) have not been described yet. This work describes the differential infected versus non-infected expression of proteins and immune-related transcripts in fins and organs of zebrafish Danio rerio shortly after infection-by-immersion with viral haemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV).
Results: Two-dimensional differential gel electrophoresis detected variations on the protein levels of the enzymes of the glycolytic pathway and cytoskeleton components but it detected very few immune-related proteins. Differential expression of immune-related gene transcripts estimated by quantitative polymerase chain reaction arrays and hybridization to oligo microarrays showed that while more transcripts increased in fins than in organs (spleen, head kidney and liver), more transcripts decreased in organs than in fins. Increased differential transcript levels in fins detected by both arrays corresponded to previously described infection-related genes such as complement components (c3b, c8 and c9) or class I histocompatibility antigens (mhc1) and to newly described genes such as secreted immunoglobulin domain (sid4), macrophage stimulating factor (mst1) and a cluster differentiation antigen (cd36).
Conclusions: The genes described would contribute to the knowledge of the earliest molecular events occurring in the fish surfaces at the beginning of natural rhabdoviral infections and/or might be new candidates to be tested as adjuvants for fish vaccines.