Antiviral Defense and Innate Immune Memory in the Oyster

Timothy J. Green, Peter Speck

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


The Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas, is becoming a valuable model for investigating antiviral defense in the Lophotrochozoa superphylum. In the past five years, improvements to laboratory-based experimental infection protocols using Ostreid herpesvirus I (OsHV-1) from naturally infected C. gigas combined with next-generation sequencing techniques has revealed that oysters have a complex antiviral response involving the activation of all major innate immune pathways. Experimental evidence indicates C. gigas utilizes an interferon-like response to limit OsHV-1 replication and spread. Oysters injected with a viral mimic (polyI:C) develop resistance to OsHV-1. Improved survival following polyI:C injection was found later in life (within-generational immune priming) and in the next generation (multi-generational immune priming). These studies indicate that the oyster’s antiviral defense system exhibits a form of innate immune-memory. An important priority is to identify the molecular mechanisms responsible for this phenomenon. This knowledge will motivate the development of practical and cost-effective treatments for improving oyster health in aquaculture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number133
Number of pages11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • Crassostrea
  • Immune priming
  • Interferon
  • OsHV-1
  • RNAi


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