Relish is an NF-kB transcription factor involved in immune-deficiency (IMD) signal pathway. In this study, a Relish gene (MrRelish) was identified from Macrobrachium rosenbergii. The full length of MrRelish comprises 5072 bp, including a 3510 bp open reading frame encoding a 1169 bp amino acid protein. MrRelish contains a Rel homology domain (RHD), a nucleus localization signal, an IκB-like domain (6 ankyrin repeats), and a death domain. Phylogenetic analysis showed that MrRelish and other Relish from crustaceans belong to one group. MrRelish was expressed in all detected tissues, with the highest expression level in hemocytes and intestines. MrRelish was also upregulated in hepatopancreas at 6 h after Vibrio anguillarum challenge. The over-expression of MrRelish could induce the expression of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), such as Drosophila Metchnikowin (Mtk), Attacin (Atta), Drosomycin (Drs), and Cecropin (CecA) and shrimp Penaeidin (Pen4). The RNAi of MrRelish in gills showed that the expression of crustin (cru) 2, Cru5, Cru8, lysozyme (Lyso) 1, and Lyso2 was inhibited. However, the expression of anti-lipopolysaccharide factor (ALF) 1 and ALF3 did not change when MrRelish was knocked down. These results indicate that MrRelish may play an important role in innate immune defense against V. anguillarum in M. rosenbergii.
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