Pavelin J, Jin YH, Gratacap RL, Taggart JB, Hamilton A, Verner-Jeffreys DW, Paley RK, Rubin C, Bishop SC, Bron JE, Robledo D & Houston RD (2021) The nedd-8 activating enzyme gene underlies genetic resistance to infectious pancreatic necrosis virus in Atlantic salmon. Genomics, 113 (6), pp. 3842-3850. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ygeno.2021.09.012
Genetic resistance to infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV) in Atlantic salmon is a rare example of a trait where a single locus (QTL) explains almost all of the genetic variation. Genetic marker tests based on this QTL on salmon chromosome 26 have been widely applied in selective breeding to markedly reduce the incidence of the disease. In the current study, whole genome sequencing and functional annotation approaches were applied to characterise genes and variants in the QTL region. This was complemented by an analysis of differential expression between salmon fry of homozygous resistant and homozygous susceptible genotypes challenged with IPNV. These analyses pointed to the NEDD-8 activating enzyme 1 (nae1) gene as a putative functional candidate underlying the QTL effect. The role of nae1 in IPN resistance was further assessed via CRISPR-Cas9 knockout of the nae1 gene and chemical inhibition of the nae1 protein activity in Atlantic salmon cell lines, both of which resulted in highly significant reduction in productive IPNV replication. In contrast, CRISPR-Cas9 knockout of a candidate gene previously purported to be a cellular receptor for the virus (cdh1) did not have a major impact on productive IPNV replication. These results suggest that nae1 is the causative gene underlying the major QTL affecting resistance to IPNV in salmon, provide further evidence for the critical role of neddylation in host-pathogen interactions, and highlight the value in combining high-throughput genomics approaches with targeted genome editing to understand the genetic basis of disease resistance.
QTL; Disease resistance; CRISPR; Whole genome resequencing; Gene expression; Aquaculture
Genomics: Volume 113, Issue 6