During early stages of development vertebrates rely on an immature immune system to fight pathogens, but in non mammalian species few studies have taken an in-depth analysis of the transition from reliance on innate immune mechanisms to the appearance of adaptive immunity. Using rainbow trout as a model we characterized responses to two natural pathogens of this species, the Gram negative bacterium Aeromonas salmonicida and the virus VHSV, using microarray analysis at four early life history stages; eyed egg, post hatch, first feeding and three weeks post first feeding when adaptive immunity starts to be effective. All stages responded to both infections, but the complexity of the response increased with developmental stage. The response to virus showed a clear interferon response only from first feeding. In contrast, bacterial infection induced a marked response from early stages, with modulation of inflammatory, antimicrobial peptide and complement genes across all developmental stages. Whilst the viral and bacterial responses were distinct, there were modulated genes in common, mainly of general inflammatory molecules. This work provides a first platform to explore the development of fish immunity to infection, and to compare the age-dependent changes (from embryo to adults) across vertebrates.
- antimicrobial responses
- Innate immunity