Prophenoloxidase (proPO) is the zymogen form of phenoloxidase (PO), a key enzyme in melanization cascade that has been co-opted in invertebrate immune reactions. There have been reported that proPO plays many essential roles in the crustacean immune system. However, little is known about the function of proPO from red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) which is an important cultured species worldwide. Here, we cloned and expressed proPO gene from red swamp crayfish (PcproPO). Subsequently, specific antibody against PcproPO was generated. The immune function of PcproPO was further characterized in vitro and in vivo. The results showed that the expression of PcproPO mRNA could be significantly up-regulated during the challenge of Gram-positive-negative (Vibrio parahaemolyticus) and Gram-positive-positive bacterial (Staphylococcus aureus). Furthermore, the purified recombinant PcproPO protein had a strong affinity binding to both bacteria and polysaccharides. In vivo knockdown of PcproPO could significantly reduce the crayfish bacterial clearance ability, resulting in the higher mortality of the crayfish during V. parahaemolyticus infection. In addition, in vitro knockdown of PcproPO in the hemocytes significantly reduced the phenoloxidase (PO) activity and the bacterial clearance ability, indicating that PcproPO might involve in hemocyte-mediated melanization. Our results will shed a new light on the immune function of PcproPO in the crayfish.
Z. Qin, V. Sarath Babu, Hanzuo Lin
Fish & shellfish immunology