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Immunity. 2007 Sep;27(3):518-29.

Zebrafish peptidoglycan recognition proteins are bactericidal amidases essential for defense against bacterial infections.

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Indiana University School of Medicine Northwest, Gary, IN 46408, USA.


Peptidoglycan recognition proteins (PGRPs) are structurally conserved through evolution, but their functions in innate immunity are different in invertebrates and vertebrates. We asked what the functions of PGRPs in fish are and whether they are indispensable for defense against infection because fish are the first vertebrates that developed adaptive immunity, but they still rely solely on innate immunity during early development of embryos. We identified and cloned three zebrafish PGRPs and showed that they are highly expressed in eggs, developing embryos, and adult tissues that contact external environment. Zebrafish PGRPs have both peptidoglycan-lytic amidase activity and broad-spectrum bactericidal activity, which is a unique feature. Furthermore, we demonstrated that in the developing zebrafish embryo, one of these PGRPs is essential for defense and survival during bacterial infections. These data demonstrate an absolute requirement for innate immunity in defense against infections in fish embryos and for a PGRP protein for survival in vertebrates.

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