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Fish Shellfish Immunol. 2019 Jun;89:677-686. doi: 10.1016/j.fsi.2019.03.041. Epub 2019 Mar 21.

Molecular cloning and characterization of grouper Krϋppel-like factor 9 gene: Involvement in the fish immune response to viral infection.

Author information

1
Joint Laboratory of Guangdong Province and Hong Kong Region on Marine Bioresource Conservation and Exploitation, College of Marine Sciences, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, 510642, China.
2
Joint Laboratory of Guangdong Province and Hong Kong Region on Marine Bioresource Conservation and Exploitation, College of Marine Sciences, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, 510642, China. Electronic address: yangmin2016@scau.edu.cn.
3
Joint Laboratory of Guangdong Province and Hong Kong Region on Marine Bioresource Conservation and Exploitation, College of Marine Sciences, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, 510642, China. Electronic address: qinqw@scau.edu.cn.

Abstract

Krϋppel-like factor 9 (KLF9) is a member of the SP/KL family, which are transcription factors implicated in several biological processes, including cell proliferation, differentiation, development and apoptosis. Studies have focused on the function of KLF9 in mammalian disease and the immune system, such as its regulatory role in the growth of tumors and its impact on interferon-related genes and inflammatory cytokines. In fish, little is known about the role of KLF9, especially its regulatory function in the innate antiviral immune response. In this study, we characterized the grouper KLF9 gene (EcKLF9) and investigated its role in viral infection. Amino acid alignment analysis showed that EcKLF9 was approximately 228 amino acids long and contained a typical three-tandem Krϋppel-like zinc fingers. Phylogenetic tree analysis revealed that EcKLF9 clustered with three fish species: Amphiprion ocellaris, Acanthochromis pollyacanthus and Stegastes partitus. Comparison analyses showed that the three Kruppel-like zinc finger domains of KLF9 were highly conserved in different fish species. Tissue expression analysis showed that EcKLF9 was constitutively expressed in all 12 tissues tested, in the healthy grouper, the highest expression being detected in the gonads. The relative expression levels of EcKLF9 in the head kidney, spleen and brain was significantly increased during red-spotted grouper nervous necrosis virus (RGNNV) and Singapore grouper iridovirus (SGIV) infections. Using fluorescence microscopy, EcKLF9 was primarily localized to the nucleus and cytoplasm. The in vitro ectopic expression of EcKLF9 significantly increased the severity of vacuoles induced by RGNNV and the cytopathic effect progression evoked by SGIV infection. Real-time PCR results showed that the transcription levels of viral genes, such as the Singapore grouper iridovirus infection genes, MCP (major capsid protein), LITAF (lipopolysaccharide induced TNF-α factor), VP19 (envelop protein) ICP-18 (infected cell protein-18) and the red-spotted grouper nervous necrosis virus genes, CP (coat protein), RdRp (RNA-dependent RNA polymerase), were all significantly increased in EcKLF9 overexpressing cells, when compared to control cells. Furthermore, western blotting analyses showed that protein levels of the RGNNV gene, CP and the SGIV gene, MCP were also increased in EcKLF9 overexpressing cells, suggesting EcKLF9 may promote viral activity against iridovirus and nodavirus, in vitro. Moreover, the overexpression of EcKLF9 significantly inhibited the expression of several interferon related cytokines and several inflammatory cytokines. Accordingly, we speculate that EcKLF9 may exert stimulatory effects on RGNNV and SGIV replication, through the negative regulation of host immune and inflammation responses.

KEYWORDS:

Grouper; KLF9; Red-spotted grouper nervous necrosis virus; Singapore grouper iridovirus

PMID:
30905839
DOI:
10.1016/j.fsi.2019.03.041

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