Tetraspanins are a family of membrane-organizing proteins, characterized by the presence of four highly conserved transmembrane regions that mediate diverse physiological functions. In the current study, we have identified two novel tetraspanin members in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), homologs to mammalian CD9 and CD63. Both genes were expressed in muscle, skin, gills, hindgut, gonad, liver, spleen, head kidney, thymus and peripheral blood leukocytes. Throughout the early life cycle stages, CD9 mRNA levels significantly increased after first feeding, whereas CD63 transcription remained constant during all the developmental stages analyzed. In response to an experimental bath infection with viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV), CD9 transcription was down-regulated in the gills, while CD63 mRNA levels were down-regulated in the head kidney. Instead, when the virus was intraperitoneally injected, the transcription of both genes was significantly up-regulated in peritoneal cells at several days post-infection. Additionally, both genes were transcriptionally up-regulated in the muscle of trout injected with a VHSV DNA vaccine. To gain insight on the relation of these tetraspanins with B cell activity we determined their constitutive expression in naive IgM(+) populations from different sources and observed that both molecules were being transcribed by IgM(+) cells in different tissues. Furthermore, CD9 transcription was significantly down-regulated in splenic IgM(+) cells in response to in vitro VHSV exposure. Our results provide insights on the potential role of these tetraspanins on teleost B cell and antiviral immunity.
Keywords: CD63; CD9; IgM(+) cells; Rainbow trout; Tetraspanins; Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV).
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