The fight between the teleost fish immune response and aquatic viruses
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Teleost fish represent a transition point on the phylogenetic spectrum between invertebrates that depend only on innate immunity and mammals that heavily depend on adaptive immunity. The major mechanisms of the teleost fish innate immune response are suggested to be similar to mammals, although fine details of the process require further studies. Within the innate immune response the type I interferon (IFN) system is an essential innate antiviral component that protects fish from some virus infections. The current progress of cloning and functional characterization of fish antiviral genes is promising in further elucidation of the fish antiviral response. The adaptive immune system of fish utilizes cellular components more or less similar to mammals. Teleost fish produce IgM as a primary antibody response and lack isotype switching to mount virus-specific antibodies during the infection process. Despite this, the development of successful fish rhabdoviral vaccines suggest that vaccination may prove to be an effective way of promoting fish adaptive immune responses to viruses. This paper reviews the bony fish antiviral response with specific discussion on the evolutionary mechanisms that allow aquatic viruses to co-exist with their host. Detailed aspects of the teleost type I IFN system are also addressed.
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