Protective immunity induced by ankyrin repeat-containing protein-based DNA vaccine against rock bream iridovirus (RBIV) in rock bream (Oplegnathus fasciatus)
Rock bream iridovirus (RBIV) causes severe mass mortalities in rock bream (Oplegnathus fasciatus) and remains an unsolved problem in Korea aquaculture industry. In this study, we assessed the potential of ankyrin repeat (ANK)-containing proteins to induce protective immunity in RBIV-infected rock bream. Rock bream administered with ankyrin repeat-containing protein-based DNA vaccine (200 ng/fish) exhibited significant protection against at 4 and 8 weeks post vaccination to infected with 6.7 × 105 RBIV at 23°C; relative percent survival (RPS) of 60.04% and 40.1%, respectively. Furthermore, survivors from the first infection were strongly protected from RBIV (1.1 × 107) re-infection at 70 days post infection, as 100% RPS was observed and without clinical signs of RBIV diseases. Moreover, TLR3 (9.5-fold), TLR9 (5.2-fold), MyD88 (15.9-fold), Mx (55.5-fold), ISG15 (19.0-fold), PKR (24.2-fold), MHC class I (5.1-fold), perforin (6.5-fold), Fas (6.4-fold), Fas ligand (7.1-fold), caspase8 (5.0-fold), caspase9 (12.5-fold), and caspase3 (6.3-fold) responses were significantly elevated in the muscle (vaccine injection site) of ANK-based DNA vaccinated fish at 7 days post vaccination. However, inflammatory cytokines (IL1β, IL8, and TNFα) were not enhanced in the vaccinated rock bream. Moreover, ANK gene may be a good candidate to detect RBIV infection or in revealing specific information to elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms underlying RBIV infection. In summary, ANK-based DNA vaccination in rock bream induced TLR- and IFN-mediated or apoptosis-related immune responses and suggest efficient preventive measures against RBIV.