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Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.02745

Phloroglucinol Treatment Induces Transgenerational Epigenetic Inherited Resistance Against Vibrio Infections and Thermal Stress in a Brine Shrimp (Artemia franciscana) Model

  • 1Ghent University, Belgium

Emerging, infectious diseases in shrimp like acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND) caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus and mortality caused by other Vibrio species such as Vibrio harveyi are worldwide related to huge economic losses in industrial shrimp production. As a strategy to prevent disease outbreaks, a plant-based phenolic compound could be used as biocontrol agent. Here, using the brine shrimp (Artemia franciscana) as a model system, we showed that phloroglucinol treatment of the parental animals at early life stages resulted in transgenerational inherited increased resistance in their progeny against biotic stress, i.e. bacteria (V. parahaemolyticus AHPND strain and V. harveyi) and abiotic stress i.e. lethal heat shock. Increased resistance was recorded in 3 subsequent generations. Innate immune-related gene expression profiles and potential epigenetic mechanisms were studied to discover the underlying protective mechanisms. Our results showed that phloroglucinol treatment of the brine shrimp parents significantly (p<0.05) enhanced the expression of a core set of innate immune genes (DSCAM, proPO, PXN, HSP90, HSP70, LGBP) in subsequent generations. We also demonstrated that epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation, m6A RNA methylation and histone acetylation and methylation (active chromatin marker i.e. H3K4Me3, H3K4me1, H3K27me1, H3 hyperacetylation, H3K14ac and repression marker i.e. H3K27me3, H4 hypoacetylation) might play a role in regulation of gene expression leading towards the observed transgenerational inheritance of the resistant brine shrimp progenies. To our knowledge, this is the first report on transgenerational inheritance of a compound induced robust protected phenotype in brine shrimp, particularly protected against AHPND caused by V. parahaemolyticus and vibriosis caused by V. harveyi. Results showed that epigenetic reprogramming is most likely to play a role in the underlying mechanism.

Keywords: Brine shrimp, Vibrio, Phloroglucinol, epigenetic inheritance, innate immune gene expression, Histone Modifications, DNA and RNA methylation, transgenerational

Received: 23 Apr 2019; Accepted: 08 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Roy, Kumar, Bossier, Norouzitallab and Vanrompay. 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(s) 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: Mrs. Suvra Roy, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium,