In the intricate lattice of aquaculture lies a species that holds a special place in both the ecological balance of marine habitats and the economy of coastal regions, particularly in China. The large yellow croaker (Larimichthys crocea), an esteemed marine treasure, contributes significantly to the nation’s mariculture. But just as every stronghold may harbor a weakness, this species faces a formidable threat that could potentially decimate populations and wreak havoc on the industry – the infectious onslaught of Pseudomonas plecoglossicida, causing the deadly visceral white spot disease.

The Pursuit of Protection: A Molecular Shield Against Disease

Recent groundbreaking research, spearheaded by Peng Jia and colleagues from the State Key Laboratory of Mariculture Breeding at Jimei University, has illuminated new hopes for defense. This study, meticulously detailed in Fish & Shellfish Immunology, with its findings ahead of print on January 13, 2024, under the DOI: 10.1016/j.fsi.2024.109372, unravels the complexity of the croaker’s immune response against P. plecoglossicida, focusing on a molecular guardian known as the complement component 1q binding protein (C1QBP). Previously tipped off by a genome-wide association analysis (GWAS), this protein emerges as a key operative in the immune counterstrike, notably initiating the complement system’s activation – a cornerstone of innate immunity.

Journey to the Core: The Science Behind the Defense

The research team’s dedication to exploring the immune response depth charts a meticulous course of expression patterns of LcC1QBP, the croaker’s variant of the protein, under the hostile gaze of P. plecoglossicida. The findings denote a resounding presence of LcC1qbp across the board, with pivotal transcriptional abundance centerstage in kidney tissues. When infection strikes, the protein not only elevates its presence in immune-centric organs but also solidifies its role at the transcriptional and translational levels.

The team pushed further by orchestrating a symphony of RNA interference in HEK 293T cells, meticulously analyzing transcriptome shifts upon C1qbp knockdown. The result? A surge of 1327 differentially expressed genes (DEGs), featuring 41 immune moguls, including C1S and C3 from the complement system, and a cast of interleukins (IL11, IL12RB2) alongside Myd88 – all stepping into the fray under C1qbp’s command.

The Immune Orchestra: Deciphering the Scale of Response

The enrichment analysis scribed within the pages of the study’s narrative underscores these DEGs’ engagement in towering pathways. From the development of the immune system to the myeloid leukocyte-mediated immunity, and a plunge into the MAPK signaling – it’s a cascade of immune-related pathways that underline the genetic symphony against disease.

This research doesn’t just pinpoint immune strategy; it’s a revelation of the biological intricacies that pave the avenue for adept avenues in both prevention and treatment of viscera white spot disease – innovations that promise to shield vast populations of large yellow croaker and, by extension, the economical backbone they support.

Guardians of the Marine Realms: The Authors Behind the Discovery

The sentinel mindset of Jia and the investigative team, with Zhang Sen, Wang Zhiyong, and Han Fang (who can be reached via electronic address:, operates from a bastion of marine research excellence: the State Key Laboratory of Mariculture Breeding, coupled with the Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory of Marine Fishery Resources and Eco-environment, nested within the Fisheries College, Jimei University, Xiamen. Their relentless quest, fueled by professional expertise and passionate inquiry, charts a course through uncharted waters of marine immunology.

Roadmap for Hope: The Path Forward

As with every scientific odyssey, this study not only provides a beacon of understanding but also opens the floodgates for future research directions. The quest to armor the large yellow croaker against visceral white spot disease continues with vigor and vitality, bolstered by a collective ambition to escort these marine denizens through turbulent pathogens to safer tides.
In a broader context, the implications of such research ripple beyond the confines of a single species. It speaks to a model of resilience that can be mirrored across various aquatic cultivars, providing a template for tackling diverse pathogenic confrontations in the aquatic farming sector.


1. Large Yellow Croaker Immunity
2. Visceral White Spot Disease
3. Pseudomonas plecoglossicida
4. Complement Component C1qbp
5. Aquaculture Disease Prevention


1. Peng Jia, Zhang Sen, Han Fang, Wang Zhiyong. (2024) C1QBP is a critical component in the immune response of large yellow croaker (Larimichthys crocea) against visceral white spot disease caused by Pseudomonas plecoglossicida. Fish & Shellfish Immunology. DOI: 10.1016/j.fsi.2024.109372
2. State Key Laboratory of Mariculture Breeding, Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory of Marine Fishery Resources and Eco-environment, Fisheries College, Jimei University, Xiamen, 361000, PR China.
3. Genome-Wide Association Analysis (GWAS) – an exploration of genetic predispositions and resistance to diseases in aquacultural species.
4. RNA Interference (RNAi) as a tool for deciphering and manipulating gene function in marine immunological research.
5. The role of complement system components C1S and C3 in innate immune responses – a comprehensive review (related literature on immune pathway functions in fish species).

Copyright © 2024. Published by Elsevier Ltd.