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Insights into the innate immunity of the Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis

Author(s): Venier Paola | Varotto Laura | Rosani Umberto | Millino Caterina | Celegato Barbara | Bernante Filippo | Lanfranchi Gerolamo | Novoa Beatriz | Roch Philippe | Figueras Antonio | Pallavicini Alberto

Journal: BMC Genomics
ISSN 1471-2164

Volume: 12;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 69;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Abstract Background Sessile bivalves of the genus Mytilus are suspension feeders relatively tolerant to a wide range of environmental changes, used as sentinels in ecotoxicological investigations and marketed worldwide as seafood. Mortality events caused by infective agents and parasites apparently occur less in mussels than in other bivalves but the molecular basis of such evidence is unknown. The arrangement of Mytibase, interactive catalogue of 7,112 transcripts of M. galloprovincialis, offered us the opportunity to look for gene sequences relevant to the host defences, in particular the innate immunity related genes. Results We have explored and described the Mytibase sequence clusters and singletons having a putative role in recognition, intracellular signalling, and neutralization of potential pathogens in M. galloprovincialis. Automatically assisted searches of protein signatures and manually cured sequence analysis confirmed the molecular diversity of recognition/effector molecules such as the antimicrobial peptides and many carbohydrate binding proteins. Molecular motifs identifying complement C1q, C-type lectins and fibrinogen-like transcripts emerged as the most abundant in the Mytibase collection whereas, conversely, sequence motifs denoting the regulatory cytokine MIF and cytokine-related transcripts represent singular and unexpected findings. Using a cross-search strategy, 1,820 putatively immune-related sequences were selected to design oligonucleotide probes and define a species-specific Immunochip (DNA microarray). The Immunochip performance was tested with hemolymph RNAs from mussels injected with Vibrio splendidus at 3 and 48 hours post-treatment. A total of 143 and 262 differentially expressed genes exemplify the early and late hemocyte response of the Vibrio-challenged mussels, respectively, with AMP trends confirmed by qPCR and clear modulation of interrelated signalling pathways. Conclusions The Mytibase collection is rich in gene transcripts modulated in response to antigenic stimuli and represents an interesting window for looking at the mussel immunome (transcriptomes mediating the mussel response to non-self or abnormal antigens). On this basis, we have defined a new microarray platform, a mussel Immunochip, as a flexible tool for the experimental validation of immune-candidate sequences, and tested its performance on Vibrio-activated mussel hemocytes. The microarray platform and related expression data can be regarded as a step forward in the study of the adaptive response of the Mytilus species to an evolving microbial world.
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