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Aquaculture and Fisheries

Antimicrobial roles of phagocytosis in teleost fish: Phagocytic B cells vs professional phagocytes

Liting Wua, Lan Lia

Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory for Healthy and Safe Aquaculture, Institute of Modern Aquaculture Science and Engineering, School of Life Sciences, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, 510631, China.


The defense system of teleost fish organized on innate and adaptive immunity protects them against a wide variety of pathogenic microorganisms in the aquatic environment. Phagocytosis is one of the most effective defense strategies against microbial challenge mainly performed by classical ‘professional’ phagocytes (including monocytes, macrophages and granulocytes). They contain, kill and process the internalized pathogens for antigen presentation by providing antigenic ligands to initiate activation and clonal expansion of T and B cells, which bridge the innate and adaptive immunity. The discovery of phagocytic B cells in teleost fish has broken the paradigm that primary vertebrate B cells are lack of phagocytosis of particulates, as well as led to the investigation of phagocytic activity of mammalian B-1 B cells. The active phagocytic, microbicidal capabilities and antigen presentation in teleost phagocytic B cell have demonstrated to be similar as professional phagocytes, providing a potential impact on development of new vaccination strategies to prevent and control infectious diseases. In this review, we aim to address current progress on the antimicrobial role of phagocytic B cells in teleost fish by comparing it with other professional phagocytes and mammalian B-1 B cells, and provide the application prospect of phagocytic B cells in developing vaccines as well as the prevention of fish diseases.

Keywords: Teleost fish, Phagocytic B cell, Phagocytosis, Antimicrobial role, Vaccine design.

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