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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Deep sequencing-based transcriptome profiling analysis of bacteria-challenged Lateolabrax japonicus reveals insight into the immune-relevant genes in marine fish

Li-xin Xiang12, Ding He12, Wei-ren Dong12, Yi-wen Zhang12 and Jian-zhong Shao12*

Author affiliations

1 College of Life Science, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China

2 Key lab for Cell and Gene Engineering of Zhejiang province, Hangzhou 310058, China

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Citation and License

BMC Genomics 2010, 11:472  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-472

Published: 13 August 2010



Systematic research on fish immunogenetics is indispensable in understanding the origin and evolution of immune systems. This has long been a challenging task because of the limited number of deep sequencing technologies and genome backgrounds of non-model fish available. The newly developed Solexa/Illumina RNA-seq and Digital gene expression (DGE) are high-throughput sequencing approaches and are powerful tools for genomic studies at the transcriptome level. This study reports the transcriptome profiling analysis of bacteria-challenged Lateolabrax japonicus using RNA-seq and DGE in an attempt to gain insights into the immunogenetics of marine fish.


RNA-seq analysis generated 169,950 non-redundant consensus sequences, among which 48,987 functional transcripts with complete or various length encoding regions were identified. More than 52% of these transcripts are possibly involved in approximately 219 known metabolic or signalling pathways, while 2,673 transcripts were associated with immune-relevant genes. In addition, approximately 8% of the transcripts appeared to be fish-specific genes that have never been described before. DGE analysis revealed that the host transcriptome profile of Vibrio harveyi-challenged L. japonicus is considerably altered, as indicated by the significant up- or down-regulation of 1,224 strong infection-responsive transcripts. Results indicated an overall conservation of the components and transcriptome alterations underlying innate and adaptive immunity in fish and other vertebrate models. Analysis suggested the acquisition of numerous fish-specific immune system components during early vertebrate evolution.


This study provided a global survey of host defence gene activities against bacterial challenge in a non-model marine fish. Results can contribute to the in-depth study of candidate genes in marine fish immunity, and help improve current understanding of host-pathogen interactions and evolutionary history of immunogenetics from fish to mammals.