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Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.01241

Behavioural fever drives epigenetic modulation of the immune response in fish

  • 1Interdisciplinary Center for Aquaculture Research (INCAR), Department of Oceanography, Biotechnology Center, University of Concepción, 4030000 Concepción, Chile, University of Concepción, Chile
  • 2Instituto de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile
  • 3Centro de Biotecnología Acuícola, Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Chile
  • 4Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, United Kingdom

Ectotherms choose the best thermal conditions to mount a successful immune response, a phenomenon known as behavioral fever. The cumulative evidence suggests that behavioral fever impacts positively upon lymphocyte proliferation, inflammatory cytokine expression and other immune functions. In this study, we have explored how thermal choice during infection impacts upon underpinning molecular processes and how temperature increase is coupled to the immune response. Our results show that behavioral fever results in a widespread, plastic imprint on gene regulation and lymphocyte proliferation. We further explored the possible contribution of histone modification and identified global associations between temperature and histone changes that suggest epigenetic remodeling as a result of behavioral fever. Together, these results highlight the critical importance of thermal choice in mobile ectotherms, particularly in response to an infection, and demonstrate the key role of epigenetic modification to orchestrate the thermocoupling of the immune response during behavioral fever.

Keywords: Behavioral fever, gene regulation, lymphocyte proliferation, Cytokine release, epigenetic modification

Received: 30 Jan 2018; Accepted: 17 May 2018.

Edited by:

Lluis Tort, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Spain

Reviewed by:

Magdalena Chadzińska, Jagiellonian University, Poland
Elżbieta Żbikowska, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland  

Copyright: © 2018 Boltana, Aguilar, Sanhueza, Donoso, Mercado, Imarai and Mackenzie. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Sebastian Boltana, University of Concepción, Interdisciplinary Center for Aquaculture Research (INCAR), Department of Oceanography, Biotechnology Center, University of Concepción, 4030000 Concepción, Chile, Concepción, 4030000, Chile, sboltana@udec.cl