Prokaryotic ribosomal RNA stimulates zebrafish embryonic innate immune system

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Objectives: Cell-culture studies reported that prokaryotic RNA molecules among the various microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) were uniquely present in live bacteria and were categorized as viability-associated MAMPs. They also reported that specific nucleotide modifications are instrumental in the discrimination between self and nonself RNAs. The aim of this study was to characterize the in vivo immune induction potential of prokaryotic and eukaryotic ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs) using zebrafish embryos as novel whole animal model system. Additionally, we aimed to test the possible role of rRNA modifications in immune recognition. Results: We used three immune markers to evaluate the induction potential of prokaryotic rRNA derived from Escherichia coli and eukaryotic rRNAs from chicken (nonself) and zebrafish (self). Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of Pseudomonas aeruginosa served as a positive control. E. coli rRNA had an induction potential equivalent to that of LPS. The zebrafish innate immune system could discriminate between self and nonself rRNAs. Between the nonself rRNAs, E. coli rRNA was more immunogenic than chicken rRNA. The in vitro transcript of zebrafish 18S rRNA gene without the nucleotide modifications was not recognized by its own immune system. Our data suggested that prokaryotic rRNA is immunostimulatory in vivo and could be useful as an adjuvant.




Basu, A., Yoshihama, M., Uechi, T., & Kenmochi, N. (2020). Prokaryotic ribosomal RNA stimulates zebrafish embryonic innate immune system. BMC Research Notes, 13(1).

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