The search for the IFN-γ receptor in fish: Functional and expression analysis of putative binding and signalling chains in rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss

Q Gao, P Nie, K D Thompson, A Adams, Tiehui Wang, C J Secombes, J Zou

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Interferons (IFNs), consisting of three major subfamilies, type I, type II (gamma) and type III (lambda) IFN, activate vertebrate antiviral defences once bound to their receptors. The three IFN subfamilies bind to different receptors, IFNAR1 and IFNAR2 for type I IFNs, IFN gamma R1 and IFN gamma R2 for type II IFN, and IL-28R1 and IL-10R2 for type III IFNs. In fish, although many types I and II IFN genes have been cloned, little is known about their receptors. In this report, two putative IFN-gamma receptor chains were identified and sequenced in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), and found to have many common characteristics with mammalian type II IFN receptor family members. The presented gene synteny analysis, phylogenetic tree analysis and ligand binding analysis all suggest that these molecules are the authentic IFN gamma Rs in fish. They are widely expressed in tissues, with IFN gamma R1 typically more highly expressed than IFN gamma R2. Using the trout RTG-2 cell line it was possible to show that the individual chains could be differentially modulated, with rIFN-gamma and rIL-1 beta down regulating IFN gamma R1 expression but up regulating IFN gamma R2 expression. Overexpression of the two receptor chains in RTG-2 cells revealed that the level of IFN gamma R2 transcript was crucial for responsiveness to rIFN-gamma, in terms of inducing gamma IP expression. Transfection experiments showed that the two putative receptors specifically bound to rIFN-gamma. These findings are discussed in the context of how the IFN gamma R may bind IFN-gamma in fish and the importance of the individual receptor chains to signal transduction. (c) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)920-931
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental and Comparative Immunology
Issue number8
Early online date26 Mar 2009
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Fish Proteins
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oncorhynchus mykiss
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Interferon
  • Signal Transduction

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