Cell-mediated immune responses in rainbow trout after DNA immunization against the viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus

Katrin Utke, Holger Kock, Heike Schuetze, Sven M. Bergmann, Niels Lorenzen, Katja Einer-Jensen, Bernd Köllner, Roy A. Dalmo, Tomas Vesely, Mitsuru Ototake, Uwe Fischer

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    To identify viral proteins that induce cell-mediated cytotoxicity (CMC) against viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV)-infected cells, rainbow trout were immunized with DNA vectors encoding the glycoprotein G or the nucleocapsid protein N of VHSV. The G protein was a more potent trigger of cytotoxic cells than the N protein. Peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL) isolated from trout immunized against the G protein killed both VHSV-infected MHC class I matched (RTG-2) and VHSV-infected xenogeneic (EPC) target cells, suggesting the involvement of both cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) and NK cells, respectively. In contrast, PBL from trout that were immunized against the N protein only killed VHSV-infected RTG-2 cells, indicating that this protein only elicits a CTL response. Further, a significant killing capacity of these PBL was only observed during summer months. PBL from fish that were immunized against the VHSV G protein significantly killed VHSV-infected but not infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV)-infected targets indicating antigen specificity. Thus, this is the first report on cytotoxic immune responses after DNA vaccination in fish. Furthermore, cells isolated from the inflamed site of DNA injection were stained and transferred to isogeneic DNA-vaccinated recipients. Most of the stained donor leukocytes accumulated at the recipients’ DNA injection site showing, for the first time, leukocyte homing in fish. Transferred donor leukocytes mainly migrated to the homologous vaccine injection site rather than to injection sites of heterologous vaccines, suggesting the antigen specificity of homing. By demonstrating CMC responses to distinct viral proteins and homing in rainbow trout, these results substantially contribute to the understanding of the teleost immune system.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalDevelopmental & Comparative Immunology
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)239-252
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • VHSV
    • Rainbow trout
    • Cell-mediated cytotoxicity
    • DNA immunization
    • Homing

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