Transcriptome analysis of the critically endangered Dabry's sturgeon (Acipenser dabryanus) head kidney response to Aeromonas hydrophila.Fish Shellfish Immunol. 2018 Dec; 83:249-261.FS
Dabry's sturgeon (Acipenser dabryanus), as a living fossil, is considered a critically endangered aquatic animal in China. To date, the immune system of this species remains largely unknown, with limited available sequence information. In addition, increasing incidence of bacterial pathogenic diseases has been reported. Hence, the present study aimed to characterize comprehensively transcriptome profile of the head kidney from Dabry's sturgeon infected with Aeromonas hydrophila using Illumina platform. Over 42 million high-quality reads were obtained and de novo assembled into a final set of 195240 unique transcript fragments (unigenes), with an average length of 564 bp. Approximately 41702 unigenes were annotated in the NR NCBI database. Dabry's sturgeon unigenes had the highest number of hits with 14365 (34.45%) to Lepisosteus oculatus. The 195240 unigenes were assigned to three Gene Ontology (GO) categories: biological process, cellular component, and molecular function. Among them, 27770 unigenes were clustered into 26 Eukaryotic Orthologous Group (KOG) functional categories, and 36031 unigenes were mapped to 335 known Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways. After A. hydrophila administration, 1728 differentially expressed unigenes were identified, including 980 upregulated and 748 downregulated unigenes. Further KEGG enrichment analysis of these unigenes identified 16 immune-related pathways, including the Toll-like receptor signaling pathway, chemokine signaling pathway, complement and coagulation pathway, RIG-I-like receptor signaling pathway, and NOD-like receptor signaling pathway. 20 DEGs were selected and their expression patterns are largely consistent with the transcriptome profile analysis, which clearly validated the reliability of the DEGs in transcriptome analysis. This work revealed novel gene expression patterns of Dabry's sturgeon host defense and contributes to a better understanding of the immune system and defense mechanisms of Dabry's sturgeon in response to bacterial infection. The results provide valuable references for studies in sturgeons that lack complete genomic sequences, and could also be helpful for the analyzing evolution among cartilaginous and teleost fish.