PloS one

Maternal transfer and protective role of the alternative complement components in zebrafish Danio rerio.

PMID 19223977


Embryos of most fish develop externally and are exposed to an aquatic environment full of potential pathogens, whereas they have little or only limited ability to mount an efficient and protective response. How fish embryos survive pathogenic attacks remains poorly defined. Here we demonstrate that the maternal immunization of female zebrafish with formalin-killed Aeromonas hydrophila causes a significant increase in C3 and Bf contents in the mother, a corresponding rise in the offspring, and induces a remarkable increase in the hemolytic activities in both the mother and offspring. In addition, the embryos derived from the immunized mother are significantly more tolerant to A. hydrophila challenge than those from the unimmunized fish, and blocking C3 and Bf activities by injection of the antibodies against C3 and Bf into the embryos render them more susceptible to A. hydrophila. These results clearly show that the protection of zebrafish embryos against A. hydrophila can be achieved by the maternally-transferred immunity of the complement system operating via the alternative pathway. This appears to be the first report providing in vivo evidences for the protective role of the alternative complement components in the early embryos of zebrafish, paving the way for insights into the in vivo function of other maternally-transferred factors in fish.

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Methyl 3-aminobenzoate, ≥97.0% (GC)