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Infect Immun. Aug 2005; 73(8): 5053–5064.
PMCID: PMC1201231

Identification of a Novel Cathelicidin Gene in the Rainbow Trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss

Abstract

We report the cloning of a novel antimicrobial peptide gene, termed rtCATH_1, found in the rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss. The predicted 216-residue rtCATH_1 prepropeptide consists of three domains: a 22-residue signal peptide, a 128-residue cathelin-like region containing two identifiable cathelicidin family signatures, and a predicted 66-residue C-terminal cationic antimicrobial peptide. This predicted mature peptide was unique in possessing features of different known (mammalian) cathelicidin subgroups, such as the cysteine-bridged family and the specific amino-acid-rich family. The rtCATH_1 gene comprises four exons, as seen in all known mammalian cathelicidin genes, and several transcription factor binding sites known to be of relevance to host defenses were identified in the 5′ flanking region. By Northern blot analysis, the expression of rtCATH_1 was detected in gill, head kidney, and spleen of bacterially challenged fish. Primary cultures of head kidney leukocytes from rainbow trout stimulated with lipopolysaccharide or poly(I · C) also expressed rtCATH_1. A 36-residue peptide corresponding to the core part of the fish cathelicidin was chemically synthesized and shown to exhibit potent antimicrobial activity and a low hemolytic effect. Thus, rtCATH_1 represents a novel antimicrobial peptide gene belonging to the cathelicidin family and may play an important role in the innate immunity of rainbow trout.


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