24 August 2022

Boštjančić and colleagues 2022

BMC (BioMed Central) logo
Boštjančić LL, Francesconi C, Rutz C, Hoffbeck L, Poidevin L, Kress A, Jussila J, Makkonen J, Feldmeyer B, Bálint M, Schwenk K, Lecompte O, Theissinger K. 2022. Host-pathogen coevolution drives innate immune response to Aphanomyces astaci infection in freshwater crayfish: transcriptomic evidence. BMC Genomics 23(1): 600. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-022-08571-z


Abstract 


Background

 

For over a century, scientists have studied host-pathogen interactions between the crayfish plague disease agent Aphanomyces astaci and freshwater crayfish. It has been hypothesised that North American crayfish hosts are disease-resistant due to the long-lasting coevolution with the pathogen. Similarly, the increasing number of latent infections reported in the historically sensitive European crayfish hosts seems to indicate that similar coevolutionary processes are occurring between European crayfish and A. astaci. Our current understanding of these host-pathogen interactions is largely focused on the innate immunity processes in the crayfish haemolymph and cuticle, but the molecular basis of the observed disease-resistance and susceptibility remain unclear. To understand how coevolution is shaping the host’s molecular response to the pathogen, susceptible native European noble crayfish and invasive disease-resistant marbled crayfish were challenged with two A. astaci strains of different origin: a haplogroup A strain (introduced to Europe at least 50 years ago, low virulence) and a haplogroup B strain (signal crayfish in lake Tahoe, USA, high virulence). Here, we compare the gene expression profiles of the hepatopancreas, an integrated organ of crayfish immunity and metabolism. 

 

Results

 

We characterised several novel innate immune-related gene groups in both crayfish species. Across all challenge groups, we detected 412 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in the noble crayfish, and 257 DEGs in the marbled crayfish. In the noble crayfish, a clear immune response was detected to the haplogroup B strain, but not to the haplogroup A strain. In contrast, in the marbled crayfish we detected an immune response to the haplogroup A strain, but not to the haplogroup B strain.

 

Conclusions

 

We highlight the hepatopancreas as an important hub for the synthesis of immune molecules in the response to A. astaci. A clear distinction between the innate immune response in the marbled crayfish and the noble crayfish is the capability of the marbled crayfish to mobilise a higher variety of innate immune response effectors. With this study we outline that the type and strength of the host immune response to the pathogen is strongly influenced by the coevolutionary history of the crayfish with specific A. astaci strains.


Open access