MKK4 fromLitopenaeus vannameiis a regulator of p38 MAPK kinase and involved in anti-bacterial response

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LvMKK4, a homologue of the mammalian mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 4 (MKK4), was isolated and identified from Litopenaeus vannamei in the present study. The full-length cDNA of LvMKK4 is 1947 bp long, with an open reading frame (ORF) of 1185 bp encoding a putative protein of 388 amino acids. LvMKK4 contains several characteristic domains such as D domain, SIAKT motif and kinase domain, all of which are conserved in MAP kinase kinase family. Like mammalian MKK4 but not Drosophila MKK4, LvMKK4 could bind to, phosphorylate and activate p38 MAPK, which provided some insights into the signal transduction mechanism of MKK4-p38 cascade in invertebrates. Our real-time PCR data indicated that LvMKK4 was ubiquitously expressed in all tested tissues and extraordinarily abundant in muscle. Dual luciferase reporter assays in Drosophila S2 cells revealed that LvMKK4 activated the transcription of antimicrobial peptide genes (AMPs), including Drosophila Attacin A, Drosomycin, and shrimp Penaeidins. Additionally, LvMKK4 was up-regulated in both intestine and hepatopancreas by a variety of inflammatory stimuli including LPS, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Staphhylococcu saureus, Poly (I: C) and white spot syndrome virus. Furthermore, RNAi-mediated knockdown of LvMKK4 enhanced the sensitivity of L. vannamei to V. parahaemolyticus infection. These findings suggested that LvMKK4 played an important role in anti-bacterial response and could be a potential target for inflammation treatment.

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