Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are considered to be amongst the most powerful tools for the fight against pathogens in fish, since they form part of the innate immune response, which is especially vital in eggs and early larval stages, when the immune system is developing. The fish responsible for a large part of the profits in Mediterranean aquaculture is European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), a species greatly susceptible to nodavirus (NNV), especially in the larval and juvenile stages. In this work, polyclonal antibodies were developed and used to detect and quantify NK-lysin, dicentracin and hepcidin AMPs in European sea bass eggs and during larval development, as well as to evaluate their regulation in juvenile specimens upon NNV infection. Basal and detectable levels of all the AMPs studied were present in eggs, confirming the maternal transfer of peptides, which increased in one or two waves during larval development up to 69 days post-fertilization. After NNV infection, the mRNA of all the AMPs analysed was up-regulated five days after infection in most of the tissues, whilst peptide quantification of all three AMPs decreased in the brain, the target tissue for NNV, but increased in the head-kidney 5 days after infection. Further research should be carried out to ascertain the role of AMPs in fish innate immunity and to understand how NNV evades the immune response to be disseminated.
- Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs)
- European sea bass
- Innate immunity
- Nodavirus (NNV)