Ichthyophthirius multifiliis is a protozoan ciliate that causes white spot disease (also known as ichthyophthiriasis) in freshwater fish. Holland's spinibarbel (Spinibarbus hollandi) was less susceptible to white spot disease than grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon Idella). In this study, grass carp and Holland's spinibarbel are infected by I. multifiliis and the amount of infection is 10,000 theronts per fish. All grass carp died within 12 days after infection, and the survival rate of Holland's spinibarbel was more than 80%. In order to study the difference in sensitivity of these two fish species to I. multifiliis, transcriptome analysis was conducted using gill, skin, liver, spleen and head kidney of Holland's spinibarbel and grass carp at 48 h post-infection with I. multifiliis. A total of 489,296,696 clean reads were obtained by sequencing. A total of 105 significantly up-regulated immune-related genes were obtained by Gene Ontology (GO) classification and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analysis in grass carp. Cluster of differentiation 40 (CD40), cluster of differentiation 80 (CD 80), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), toll-like receptor 4 (TLR-4), interleukin 1 beta (IL-1β) and other inflammatory-related genes in grass carp were enriched in the cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction pathway and toll-like receptor pathway. In Holland's spinibarbel, a total of 46 significantly up-regulated immune-related genes were obtained by GO classification and KEGG pathway enrichment analysis. Immune-related genes, such as Immunoglobin heavy chain (IgH), cathepsin S (CTSS), complement C1q A chain (C1qA), complement component 3 (C3) and complement component (C9) were enriched in phagosome pathway, lysosome pathway and complement and coagulation concatenation pathway. C3 was significantly up-regulated in gill and head kidney. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) showed that the C3 gene was highly expressed in gill tissue of Holland's spinibarbel infected with I. multifiliis. A small amount of C3 gene was expressed in the gill arch of grass carp after infected with I. multifiliis. In conclusion, the severe inflammatory response in vivo after infecting grass carp with I. multifiliis might be the main cause of the death of grass carp. The extrahepatic expression of the gene of Holland's spinibarbel might play an important role in the immune defense against I. multifiliis.
Keywords: Complement component 3; Ctenopharyngodon idella; Ichthyophthirius multifiliis; Spinibarbus hollandi; Transcriptome analysis.
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