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Transferrin cleavage during acute inflammation in the goldfish, Carassius auratus Open Access


Other title
acute inflammation
teleost immunity
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Trites, Michael
Supervisor and department
Barreda, Daniel (Biological Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Chang, John (Biological Sciences)
Stafford, James (Biological Sciences)
Hubbard, Basil (Pharmacology)
Department of Biological Sciences
Physiology, Cell, and Developmental Biology
Date accepted
Graduation date
2016-06:Fall 2016
Master of Science
Degree level
Transferrin is an evolutionary conserved protein that in addition to having a critical role in iron transport also has been shown to have a crucial role in host defence. Transferrin has been shown to sequester iron from invading pathogens, act directly against microbial pathogens, and is an evolutionary conserved acute phase protein. Recently, cleaved transferrin products have been shown to activate both teleost and murine macrophages in vitro. The objectives of my thesis were to characterize the presence and regulation of cleaved transferrin products to acute inflammation. I used an in vivo model of self-resolving inflammation in goldfish, coupled with analysis of leucocyte anti-microbial analysis responses. Specifically: gene expression, leucocyte influx, respiratory burst, and nitric oxide production. I also used protein analysis to evaluate the contributions of cleaved transferrin to acute inflammation. I show, for the first time that cleaved transferrin products are produced in vivo during an acute inflammatory response. I initially investigated the ability of cleaved transferrin fragments to serve as a broader marker of the acute inflammatory response compared to short-lived and low concentration cytokines. Cleaved transferrin fragments were produced during pathogen induced, but not sterile, inflammation. However there was a large degree of heterogeneity in banding patterns within transferrin cleavage products detected by Western blot, and there are likely a multitude of cleavage products generated in vivo that were undetected with the primary antibody used. I then investigated the potential contributions of transferrin cleavage products during acute inflammation in vivo. Macrophages, but not neutrophils, potentially contribute to production of transferrin through inducible expression of transferrin during inflammation. Pro-inflammatory neutrophils, in contrast, displayed a preferential ability to enzymatically digest transferrin; that was reduced in macrophages and late-phase pro-resolving neutrophils. This study adds to a growing body or work highlighting the role of transferrin as an immune regulator during acute inflammation. Given the significant conservation of this and related molecules, these findings have potentially broad implications for host defences and inflammation control across evolution. Overall the data presented suggests that cleaved transferrin products may play a role during activation events of macrophages in vivo and this mechanism is likely conserved throughout evolution.
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