RNA-seq analysis of the head-kidney transcriptome response to handling-stress in the red cusk-eel (Genypterus chilensis)

Víctor Aballai, Jorge E. Aedo, Jonathan Maldonado, Macarena Bastias-Molina, Herman Silva, Claudio Meneses, Sebastian Boltaña, Ariel Reyes, Alfredo Molina, Juan Antonio Valdés

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Stress is a primary contributing factor of fish disease and mortality in aquaculture. We have previously reported that the red cusk-eel (Genypterus chilensis), an important farmed marine fish, demonstrates a handling-stress response that results in increased juvenile mortality, which is mainly associated with skeletal muscle atrophy and liver steatosis. To better understand the systemic effects of stress on red cusk-eel immune-related gene expression, the present study assessed the transcriptomic head-kidney response to handling-stress. The RNA sequencing generated a total of 61,655,525 paired-end reads from control and stressed conditions. De novo assembly using the CLC Genomic Workbench produced 86,840 transcripts and created a reference transcriptome with a N50 of 1426 bp. Reads mapped onto the assembled reference transcriptome resulted in the identification of 569 up-regulated and 513 down-regulated transcripts. Gene ontology enrichment analysis revealed a significant up-regulation of the biological processes, like response to stress, response to biotic stimulus, and immune response. Conversely, a significant down-regulation of biological processes is associated with metabolic processes. These results were validated by RT-qPCR analysis for nine candidate genes involved in the immune response. The present data demonstrated that short term stress promotes the immune innate response in the marine teleost G. chilensis. This study is an important step towards understanding the immune adaptive response to stress in non-model teleost species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-117
Number of pages7
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part D: Genomics and Proteomics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Genypterus chilensis
  • Handling-stress
  • Head-kidney transcriptome
  • Immune response
  • Red cusk-eel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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