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Pang J.-C.,Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences | Pang J.-C.,Shanghai Ocean University | Gao F.-Y.,Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences | Gao F.-Y.,Key Laboratory of Tropical and Subtropical | And 8 more authors.
Fish and Shellfish Immunology

Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is a large genomic region characterized by extremely high polymorphism, and it plays an important role in the immune response of vertebrates. In the present study, we isolated MHC class II genes from Nile tilapia in order to investigate the immune mechanism in tilapia and develop better strategies for disease prevention. Moreover, we cloned the full-length cDNA sequences of MHC IIA and IIB from Nile tilapia by the RACE approach. In addition, the genomic structure, molecular polymorphism and expression patterns of MHC II genes in Nile tilapia were also examined. Compared with that of other teleosts, Nile tilapia MHC class IIA contained four exons and three introns. The deduced amino acid sequence of the MHC IIA molecule shared 25.4-64.5% similarity with those of other teleosts and mammals. Six exons and five introns were identified from Nile tilapia MHC IIB, and the deduced amino acid sequence shared 26.9-74.7% similarity with those of other teleosts and mammals. All the characteristic features of MHC class II chain structure could be identified in the deduced sequences of MHC IIA and IIB molecules, including the leader peptide, α1/β1 and α2/β2 domains, connecting peptide and transmembrane and cytoplasmic regions, as well as conserved cysteines and N-glycosylation site. A total of 12 MHC IIA alleles were identified from six individuals. Four alleles originating from a single individual suggested that at least four MHC IIA loci existed. Moreover, 10 MHC IIB alleles were identified, among which four were detected in a single individual, suggesting that at least four MHC IIB loci existed. The expression of MHC IIA and IIB at the mRNA level in 10 types of normal tissues was determined using quantitative real-time PCR analysis. The highest expression level was detected in stomach and gill, whereas the lowest expression was detected in muscle and brain. Furthermore, MHC IIA and IIB were probably two candidate immune molecules involved in the resistance against streptococcosis, because their expression was significantly up-regulated in gill, kidney, intestine and spleen after the intraperitoneal injection of Streptococcus agalactiae. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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