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Comparative transcriptomics reveal conserved impacts of rearing density on immune response of two important aquaculture species

Ellison, Amy R., Uren Webster, Tamsyn M., Rodriguez-Barreto, Deiene, Garcia de Leaniz, Carlos, Consuegra, Sofia, Orozco-terWengel, Pablo ORCID: and Cable, Jo ORCID: 2020. Comparative transcriptomics reveal conserved impacts of rearing density on immune response of two important aquaculture species. Fish and Shellfish Immunology 104 , pp. 192-201. 10.1016/j.fsi.2020.05.043

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Infectious diseases represent an important barrier to sustainable aquaculture development. Rearing density can substantially impact fish productivity, health and welfare in aquaculture, including growth rates, behaviour and, crucially, immune activity. Given the current emphasis on aquaculture diversification, stress-related indicators broadly applicable across species are needed. Utilising an interspecific comparative transcriptomic (RNAseq) approach, we compared gill gene expression responses of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) to rearing density and Saprolegnia parasitica infection. Salmon reared at high-density showed increased expression of stress-related markers (e.g. c-fos and hsp70), and downregulation of innate immune genes. Upon pathogen challenge, only salmon reared at low density exhibited increased expression of inflammatory interleukins and lymphocyte-related genes. Tilapia immunity, in contrast, was impaired at low-density. Using overlapping gene ontology enrichment and gene ortholog analyses, we found that density-related stress similarly impacted salmon and tilapia in key immune pathways, altering the expression of genes vital to inflammatory and Th17 responses to pathogen challenge. Given the challenges posed by ectoparasites and gill diseases in fish farms, this study underscores the importance of optimal rearing densities for immunocompetence, particularly for mucosal immunity. Our comparative transcriptomics analyses identified density stress impacted immune markers common across different fish taxa, providing key molecular targets with potential for monitoring and enhancing aquaculture resilience in a wide range of farmed species.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1050-4648
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 May 2020
Date of Acceptance: 15 May 2020
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 22:03

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