Identification of differentially expressed protective genes in liver of two rainbow trout strains
Since 1975, the rainbow trout strain BORN (Germany) has been bred in brackish water from a coastal form imported from Denmark. Accompanying phenotypic monitoring of the adapted BORN trout until now revealed that this selection strain manifested a generally elevated resistance towards high stress and pathogenic challenge including lower susceptibility towards Aeromonas salmonicida infections in comparison to other trout strains in local aqua farms. We focus on the elucidation of both, genetic background and immunological basis for the increased survivorship to infections. A first comparison of gene expression profiles in liver tissue of healthy rainbow trout from the local selection strain BORN and imported trout using a GRASP 16K cDNA microarray revealed six differentially expressed genes evoking pathogen and wounding responses, LEAP2A (encoding for liver-expressed antimicrobial peptide), SERPINA1 (alpha-1 antitrypsin), FTH1 (middle subunit of ferritin), FGL2 (fibroleukin), CLEC4E (macrophage-inducible C-type lectin), and SERPINF2 (alpha-2 antiplasmin). Since the latter gene is not described in salmonid species so far, our first aim was to characterize the respective sequence in rainbow trout. Two trout SERPINF2 genes were identified, which share only 48% identical amino acid residues and a characteristic SERPIN domain. Second, we aimed to analyse the expression of those genes after temperature challenge (8°C and 23°C). Only FTH1 was upregulated in BORN and import trout after increase of temperature, while SERPINA1 and FGL2 were only elevated in import trout. Third, the expression of all named genes was analyzed after pathogen challenge with A. salmonicida subsp. salmonicida. As a main finding, we detected a comparably faster regeneration of LEAP2A mRNA abundance in BORN trout following bacterial infection. Ingenuity Pathways Analysis suggested a functional interplay among the mentioned factors and the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF, whose stronger expression was validated in liver of BORN trout. This data indicate that the examined genes contribute to an improved first barrier against invading pathogens in BORN trout.