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Hot Topic Article: Differential expression of American lobster (Homarus americanus) immune related genes during infection of Aerococcus viridans var. homari, the causative agent of Gaffkemia

The American lobster is the most economically important fishery in Canadian Atlantic Ocean waters. This interesting article describes the first broad attempt at characterizing the American lobster's immunological genetic make-up by identifying thousands of genes from the lobster hepatopancreas. The authors then focused on 148 genes involved in the immune response to an in vivo infection with the important lobster pathogen, Aerococcus viridans var. homari.


This is the first transcriptomic study focusing on immunity in the commercially valuable American lobster (Homarus americanus). We have conducted an in vivo infection trial using the Gram-positive bacterium Aerococcus viridans var. homari to determine how H. americanus responds to this naturally occurring lethal-pathogen. A novel H. americanus microarray was used to measure the transcriptomic changes occurring in over 14,000 genes in the lobster hepatopancreas. Hundreds of new immune genes and isoforms were identified and measured for the first time in this species, and our findings highlight 148 genes of interest involved in H. americanus pathogen response. We verified our microarray results using RT-qPCR on three anti-lipopolysaccharide (ALFHa-1, ALFHa-2, ALFHa-4), a thioredoxin, acute phase serum amyloid protein A, hexokinase and two trypsin genes. RT-qPCR and microarray findings show close agreement and highlight the significant increase in gene expression in many lobster immune genes during A. viridans infection. Differential expression of the ALFHa isoforms may indicate that the H. americanus immune response can be tailored to the class of pathogen causing disease.
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