Pathogen recognition receptors in channel catfish: III Phylogeny and expression analysis of Toll-like receptors

Jiaren Zhang, Shikai Liu, K. V. Rajendran, Luyang Sun, Yu Zhang, Fanyue Sun, Huseyin Kucuktas, Hong Liu, Zhanjiang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) were the earliest characterized and the most extensively studied pathogen recognition receptors (PRRs). The majority of tetrapod TLR orthologs have been found in teleost fish. In addition, a group of " fish-specific" TLRs have been identified. In catfish, a number of TLR-related sequences have been reported, but systematic phylogenetic analyses have not been conducted. In this study, we conducted phylogenetic and comparative analysis of 20 catfish TLR genes against their counterparts from various species. TLR25 and TLR26 are TLRs identified only in channel catfish. Phylogenetic analyses suggested that four catfish TLR genes have duplicated copies in the genome, i.e., TLR4, TLR5, TLR8, and TLR20. Six fish-specific TLRs were identified, and the vast majority of these belong to the TLR11 subfamily. In healthy catfish tissues, most of the tested TLR genes were ubiquitously expressed although expression levels varied among the 11 tested tissues. We tested nine TLRs for their expression in response to Edwardsiella ictaluri infection. They were significantly up-regulated in the spleen and liver, but down-regulated in the head kidney, suggesting their involvement in the immune responses against the intracellular bacterial pathogen in a tissue-specific manner in catfish, perhaps through rapid migration of phagocytes to infection sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-194
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental and Comparative Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Catfish
  • Fish
  • Genome
  • Immunity
  • Infection
  • TLR
  • Toll-like receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Developmental Biology


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