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Dev Comp Immunol. 2013 Dec;41(4):514-22. doi: 10.1016/j.dci.2013.07.022. Epub 2013 Aug 6.

First characterization of a teleost Epstein-Barr virus-induced gene 3 (EBI3) reveals a regulatory effect of EBI3 on the innate immune response of peripheral blood leukocytes.

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Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao 266071, China; Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China.


Epstein-Barr virus-induced gene 3 (EBI3) encodes a protein that in mammals is known to be a subunit of interleukin (IL)-27 and IL-35, both which regulate cytokine production and inflammatory response. To date, no studies on fish EBI3 have been documented. In this work, we report the identification of an EBI3 homologue, CsEBI3, from tongue sole (Cynoglossus semilaevis) and analysis of its expression and biological effect. CsEBI3 is composed of 245 amino acid residues and possesses a Fibronectin type 3 (FN3) domain that is preserved in lower and higher vertebrates. Expression of CsEBI3 was detected in a wide range of tissues, in particular those of immune relevant organs, and upregulated in a time-dependent manner by experimental challenge with bacterial and viral pathogens. Bacterial infection of peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL) enhanced CsEBI3 expression and caused extracellular secretion of CsEBI3. Purified recombinant CsEBI3 (rCsEBI3) stimulated the respiratory burst activity of PBL and upregulated the expression of IL-1β, IL-8, Myd88, interferon-induced gene 15, CD28, and chemokines. In contrast, rCsEBI3M, a mutant CsEBI3 that lacks the FN3 domain failed to activate PBL and induced much weaker expression of the immune genes. Treatment of PBL with rCsEBI3, but not with the mutant rCsEBI3M, enhanced cellular resistance against bacterial invasion, whereas antibody blocking of CsEBI3 on PBL significantly reduced cellular resistance against bacterial infection. Taken together, these results indicate for the first time that a teleost EBI3 possesses immunoregulatory property in a manner that is dependent on the conserved FN3 domain, and that CsEBI3 is involved in the innate immune defense of PBL against microbial pathogens.


Cynoglossus semilaevis; Epstein-Barr virus-induced gene 3; Immunoregulation; Interleukin-27

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