Development of a caspase-3 antibody as a tool for detecting apoptosis in cells from rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Verónica Rojas, Fanny Guzmán, Cristián Valenzuela, Sergio H. Marshall, Luis Mercado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Apoptosis is an active cell death process mediated by caspases activation, in which different extrinsic or intrinsic signalling pathways result in direct activation of effector caspases. Caspase-3 is considered to be the most important of the executioner caspases, which cause the morphological and biochemical changes detected in apoptotic cells. Different bacterial and virus pathogens have developed different strategies to survive inside the host and overcome natural protections, one of them is inducing apoptotic death in infected cells. We have demonstrated previously that Piscirickettsia salmonis activates this process in monocytes/macrophages from salmonid RTS11 cell line both by morphological and caspase detection assays; nevertheless, recognition of caspase activation by western blot was impossible since most of the commercially available antibodies for mammalian caspases are not cross-reacting. Results: We have generated a monospecific polyclonal antibody directed to an epitope region of salmonid caspase-3; the selected epitope present high homology with caspase-3 from others teleost species and includes the active site of the enzyme. The peptide was designed using bioinformatics tools and was chemically synthesized using the Fmoc strategy, analysed by RP-HPLC, its molecular weight confirmed by mass spectrometry and its structure analyzed by circular dichroism. The synthetic peptide was immunized and antibodies from ascitic fluid were enriched for immunoglobulins using caprylic acid and then purified by activated affinity columns. The anti-peptide activity of purified antibodies was verified by ELISA, and the ability of the anti-peptide to recognize salmonid caspase-3 activation was demonstrated with the molecule in P. salmonis RTS11 infected cells by western blotting, ELISA and immunocytochemistry. Conclusions: This is the first antibody available for a fish caspase, specifically for trout caspase-3, whose applications were validated by different immunological assays.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12
Number of pages1
JournalElectronic Journal of Biotechnology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2012


  • Antibody
  • Caspase-3
  • Fish apoptosis
  • Piscirickettsia salmonis


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