The role of hepcidin in iron metabolism regulation and bacterial infection has been the focus of recent attention. However, in spite of the growing number of hepcidin genes known from different organisms, little is known about its putative dual function in fish. The aim of this study was to characterize the sea bass hepcidin gene and to study its role in iron metabolism and infection. The novel sea bass hepcidin gene was found to be organized into two introns and three exons with several copies present in the genome. The transcript showed a constitutive low basal expression being mainly expressed in liver and encoding a putative 85 residues long peptide. Fish were submitted either to iron status modulation or bacterial infection and the hepcidin transcript levels were analysed along with a number of other parameters. Liver hepcidin expression was found to increase in both the iron-overloaded and infected fish, while in the iron-deficient fish no alteration in expression levels was detected. These results point to the evolutionary conservation of hepcidin's dual functions.