Molecular characterisation, evolution and expression analysis of g-type lysozymes inCiona intestinalis

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Lysozyme is an important defense molecule of the innate immune system. Known for its bactericidal properties, lysozyme catalyzes the hydrolysis of b-(1,4)-glycosidic bonds between the N-acetyl glucosamine and N-acetyl muramic acid in the peptidoglycan layer of bacterial cell walls. In this study, the complete coding sequence of four g-type lysozymes were identified in Ciona intestinalis. Phylogenetic analysis and modelling supported the hypothesis of a close relationship with the vertebrate g-type lysozymes suggesting that the C. intestinalis g-type lysozyme genes (CiLys-g1, Cilys-g2, CiLys-g3, CiLys-g4) share a common ancestor in the chordate lineage. Protein motif searches indicated that C. intestinalis g-type lysozymes contain a GEWL domain with a GXXQ signature, typical of goose lysozymes. Quantitative Real-Time PCR analysis results showed that transcripts are expressed in various tissues from C. intestinalis. In order to determine the involvement of C. intestinalis g-type lysozymes in immunity, their expression was analyzed in the pharynx, showing that transcripts were significantly up-regulated in response to a challenge with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). These data support the view that CiLys g-type are molecules with potential for immune defense system against bacterial infection.

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