Upregulation in response to infection and antibacterial activity of oyster histone H4

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Several histones and histone-derived peptides have been shown to have antimicrobial activity and a potential role in innate immune defenses. A histone H4 sequence was identified in a subtractive suppression library containing genes upregulated in American cupped oysters, Crassostrea virginica, in response to challenge with the protozoan parasite Perkinsus marinus. Oyster histone H4 protein levels significantly increased in hemocyte lysates and cell free hemolymph of oysters experimentally challenged with P. marinus. The complete histone H4 coding sequence of C. virginica was cloned into a Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast expression system and recombinant expression was confirmed using SDS-PAGE analysis and western blot. Delivery of yeast cells expressing recombinant oyster histone H4 into the gut of brine shrimp, Artemia salinas, challenged with a streptomycin resistant strain of Vibrio anguillarum resulted in a significant and dose-dependent decrease in the load of V. anguillarum. Purified recombinant histone H4 showed antimicrobial activity against V. anguillarum and Escherichia coli at micromolar concentrations, but did not affect the viability of P. marinus in culture. These results support the role of histone H4 in the defense of oysters against bacterial infection and validate the use of a novel oyster antimicrobial H4 in a yeast feed-based delivery system for the treatment of bacterial infections in aquaculture applications. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

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Fish and Shellfish Immunology