Streptococcus iniae is the most significant bacterial disease of tilapia throughout the world, and commonly leads to tremendous economic losses. In contrast to other important fish species, our knowledge about the molecular mechanisms of tilapia in response to bacterial infection is still limited. Here, therefore, we utilized RNA-seq to first profiling of host responses in tilapia spleen following S. iniae infection at transcriptome level. A total of 223 million reads were obtained and assembled into 192,884 contigs with average length 844 bp. Gene expression analysis between control and infected samples at 5 h, 50 h, and 7 d revealed 1475 differentially expressed genes. In particular, the differentially expressed gene set was dramatically induced as early as 5 h, and rapidly declined to basal levels at 50 h. Enrichment and pathway analysis of the differentially expressed genes revealed the centrality of the pathogen attachment and recognition, cytoskeletal rearrangement and immune activation/inflammation in the pathogen entry and host inflammatory responses. Understanding of these responses can highlight mechanisms of tilapia host defense, and expand our knowledge of teleost immunology. Our findings will set a foundation of valuable biomarkers for future individual, strain, and family-level studies to evaluate immune effect of vaccine and individual response in host defense mechanisms to S. iniae infection, to select disease resistant families and strains.
Keywords: Immune response; RNA-seq; Spleen; Streptococcus iniae; Tilapia.
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