Unique duplication of IFNh genes in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) reveals lineage-specific evolution of IFNh in perciform fishes

Zhen Gan, Jun Cheng, Liqun Xia, Kevin WH Kwok, Yishan Lu, Pin Nie

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Fish appear to harbour a complex type I IFN repertoire containing subgroups a, b, c, d, e, f, and h, and IFNh is only reported in perciform fishes. However, no multiple copies of IFNh gene has been identified in fish to date. In this study, two IFNh genes named On-IFNh1 and On-IFNh2 were cloned from Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus. The predicted proteins of On-IFNh1 and On-IFNh2 contain several structural features known in type I IFNs, and estimation of divergence time revealed that these two genes may have arisen from a much recent local duplication event. On-IFNh genes were constitutively expressed in all tissues examined, with the highest expression level observed in gill, and were rapidly induced in all organs/tissues tested following the stimulation of poly(I:C). In addition, both recombinant On-IFNh1 and On-IFNh2 trigger a relative delayed but sustained induction of interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs), whereas recombinant On-IFNc elicits a rapid and transient expression of ISGs in vivo. The present study thus contributes to a better understanding of the functional properties of tilapia interferons, and also provides a new insight into the evolution of IFNh in fish.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-42
Number of pages7
JournalFish and Shellfish Immunology
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Functional properties
  • Gene duplication
  • IFNh
  • Oreochromis niloticus
  • Type I interferon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Immunology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Immunology and Microbiology (miscellaneous)

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