Blood Transcriptomics of Turbot Scophthalmus maximus: A Tool for Health Monitoring and Disease Studies

Paolo Ronza, José Antonio Álvarez-Dios, Diego Robledo, Ana Paula Losada, Roberto Romero, Roberto Bermúdez, Belén G Pardo, Paulino Martínez, María Isabel Quiroga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Blood transcriptomics is emerging as a relevant tool to monitor the status of the immune system and assist in diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and pathogenesis studies of diseases. In fish pathology, the potential of transcriptome profiling of blood is still poorly explored. Here, RNA sequencing was applied to analyze the blood transcriptional profile of turbot (Scophthalmus maximus), the most important farmed flatfish. The study was conducted in healthy specimens and specimens parasitized by the myxozoan Enteromyxum scophthalmi, which causes one of the most devastating diseases in turbot aquaculture. The blood of healthy turbot showed a transcriptomic profile mainly related to erythrocyte gas transportation function, but also to antigen processing and presentation. In moderately infected turbot, the blood reflected a broad inhibition of the immune response. Particularly, down-regulation of the B cell receptor signaling pathway was shared with heavily parasitized fish, which showed larger transcriptomic changes, including the activation of the inflammatory response. Turbot response to enteromyxosis proved to be delayed, dysregulated and ineffective in stopping the infection. The study evinces that blood transcriptomics can contribute to a better understanding of the teleost immune system and serve as a reliable tool to investigate the physiopathological status of fish.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2021


  • RNA-seq
  • teleost
  • immune system
  • immune response
  • erythrocytes
  • leukocytes
  • Enteromyxum scophthalmi
  • infection
  • myxozoa


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