Immunity elicited by AMP-encoding plasmids fails to increase the protection of European sea bass against nodavirus

Laura Cervera, Carmen González-Fernández, Daniela Cano, M. Ángeles Esteban, Luis Mercado, Elena Chaves-Pozo, Alberto Cuesta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are a potent arm of the innate immune system that can directly kill pathogens and induce immunomodulation. In the marine aquaculture, European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.) is one of the most prosperous species but is highly susceptible to nodavirus (NNV), which produces high rates of mortality in larvae and juvenile stages. Thus, we aimed to evaluate whether AMPs exert immunomodulatory and/or NNV-preventive actions in sea bass. To do this, plasmids encoding the sea bass AMPs dicentracin (pDIC), beta-defensin (pDB1), hepcidin (pHAMP2) or NK-lysin (pNKL) were generated and intramuscularly injected into sea bass juveniles to evaluate their immunomodulatory and anti-NNV roles. Sea bass muscle transcribes the AMPs and produces an increase in their circulating levels, along with an increase of the antibacterial activity. Immune-related gene analysis revealed a great activation of the inflammatory response and the recruitment of neutrophilic granulocytes at the site of injection. However, AMP-encoding plasmids, namely pHAMP2, negatively affected to NNV disease by increasing fish mortality. In conclusion, plasmids encoding AMPs show immunostimulatory effects on European sea bass but do not improve the resistance to NNV.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108507
JournalFish and Shellfish Immunology
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Antimicrobial peptides
  • Dicentracin
  • Dicentrarchus labrax
  • Hepcidin
  • Immunostimulation
  • NK-lysin
  • Nodavirus


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