Knowledge on how genes are turned on/off during infection and immunity is lacking. Here, we report the coregulation of diverse clusters of functionally related immune response genes in a horseshoe crab, Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda. Expressed sequence tag (EST) clusters for frontline immune defense, cell signalling, apoptosis and stress response genes were expressed or repressed spatio-temporally during the acute phase of Pseudomonas infection. An infection time course monitored by virtual Northern evaluation indicates upregulation of genes in blood cells (amebocytes) at 3-h postinfection, whereas most of the hepatopancreas genes remained downregulated over 72h of infection. Thus, the two tissues orchestrate a coordinated and timely response to infection. The hepatopancreas probably immunomodulates the expression of other genes and serves as a reservoir for later response, if/when chronic infection ensues. On the other hand, being the first to encounter pathogens, we reasoned that amebocytes would respond acutely to infection. Besides acute transactivation of the immune genes, the amebocytes maintained morphological integrity, indicating their ability to synthesise and store/secrete the immune proteins and effectors to sustain the frontline innate immune defense, while simultaneously elicit complement-mediated phagocytosis of the invading pathogen. Our results show that the immune response against Pseudomonas infection is spatially and temporally coordinated.
- Expressed sequence tags (ESTs)
- Immune-response gene clusters
- Pseudomonas infection
- Spatial and temporal immune gene expression
- Transcript profiling
ASJC Scopus subject areas