The aim of this work was to underline the physiological role of the antioxidant peroxiredoxin (PRDX) family in gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata L.), a perciform fish extensively cultured in the Mediterranean area. First, extensive BLAST searches were done on the gilthead sea bream cDNA database of the AQUAMAX European Project (www.sigenae.org/iats), and six contigs were unequivocally identified as PRDX1-6 after sequence completion by RT-PCR. The phylogenetic analysis evidenced three major clades corresponding to PRDX1-4 (true 2-Cyst PRDX subclass), PRDX5 (atypical 2-Cys PRDX subclass) and PRDX6 (1-Cys PRDX subclass) that reflected the present hierarchy of vertebrates. However, the PRDX2 branch of modern fish including gilthead sea bream was related to the monophyletic PRDX1 node rather than to PRDX2 cluster of mammals and primitive fish, which probably denotes the acquisition of novel functions through vertebrate evolution. Transcriptional studies by means of quantitative real-time PCR evidenced a ubiquitous PRDX gene expression that was tissue specific for each PRDX isoform. In a second set of transcriptional studies, liver and head kidney were chosen as target tissues in fish challenged with i) the intestinal parasite Enteromyxum leei, ii) a plant oil (VO) diet with deficiencies in essential fatty acids and iii) prolonged exposure to high-rearing densities. These studies showed that PRDX genes were highly and mostly constitutively expressed in the liver and were not affected by dietary intervention or high density. In contrast, head kidney was highly sensitive to the different experimental challenges: significantly lower values were found for PRDX5 in the three trials, for PRDX6 in parasitized and high density fish and for PRDX1 in parasitized and VO fish. PRDX2, 3 and 5 were decreased only in VO, high density and parasitized animals, respectively. These findings would highlight the role of PRDXs as integrative and highly predictive biomarkers of health and welfare in fish and gilthead sea bream in particular.
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