Fish mucosal surface is a significant interface for pathogens to infect from an aqueous environment. In addition to mucosal innate and adaptive immune factors, epithelial cells are considered as a significant physical barrier against microbial invasion. Previously, we identified a mammalian CD46-like complement regulatory protein (Tecrem) in teleost and detected its expression on epithelial cells derived from fin, suggesting its physiological role on the fish surface. This study examines the homeostatic roles of Tecrem in maintaining the fish epithelium, by analyzing the expression behavior of Tecrem on the fin-derived epithelial cell lines (KF-1 from the common carp and CFS from ginbuna crucian carp) using monoclonal and polyclonal anti-Tecrem antibodies. Expression of KF-1 protein was associated with the adhesion of KF-1, and the adhesion was enhanced by anti-Tecrem treatments of the cells. Stimulation of the epithelial cells with anti-Tecrem enhanced wound healing, protein expression of tight-junction proteins, and cell density of the KF-1 and CFS monolayer culture. These results suggest that Tecrem on epithelial cells play a homeostatic role in maintaining intactness of the surface epithelial barrier, implying that modification of Tecrem expression may develop a novel tool to improve the first-line defense against pathogens in aquaculture.
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