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Fish Shellfish Immunol. 2012 Aug;33(2):365-74. doi: 10.1016/j.fsi.2012.05.023. Epub 2012 May 24.

Cloning and expression analysis of two ROR-γ homologues (ROR-γa1 and ROR-γa2) in rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss.

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Scottish Fish Immunology Research Centre, School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.


This paper describes the cloning and characterisation of two retinoid-related orphan receptor (ROR)-γ homologues (ROR-γa1 and -γa2) in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). The coding region predicted for both homologues consists of 1410 base pairs (bp), which translate into two 469 amino acid (aa) proteins. The trout ROR-γs revealed a high conservation of both DNA- and ligand-binding domains (functional regions of the nuclear receptor family), and shared a high homology to mammalian ROR-γt. A phylogenetic tree containing ROR family members confirmed that both trout homologues clustered within the ROR-γ group. Both results suggested that these molecules are likely to be ROR-γ homologues, more similar to the mammalian splice variant ROR-γt than the full length ROR-γ. Expression analysis of tissues obtained from healthy fish revealed highest constitutive expression of trout ROR-γ in muscle, followed by the brain, heart and skin. This suggests that these genes may play an important role in such tissues. In vitro studies, using trout cell lines, demonstrated that ROR-γ is induced significantly by LPS and down-regulated by the presence of PolyI:C and recombinant interferon (IFN)-γ. Moreover, analysis of this gene in head kidney macrophages and mixed primary leucocyte cultures indicated that differences were apparent between the different cell types/sources used, indicating that its expression may be cell-type dependent. Additional studies to investigate the regulation of this gene in vivo demonstrated that its expression was significantly higher in vaccinated vs unvaccinated fish following bacterial (Yersinia ruckeri) challenge but it was down-regulated after a viral (VHSV) infection. This suggests a potential role of trout ROR-γ, a putative T(H)17 transcription factor, in protection against extracellular bacteria.

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