As a crucial molecular switch, Cdc42 is a signal regulation hub which is involved in a wide range of cellular processes, including cytokinesis, gene expression, cell cycle progression and apoptosis. It has been reported that this GTPase promotes host defense against fatal infection and plays a vital role in the innate immunity system of mammals. But whether and how Cdc42 participates in innate immunity in invertebrates, such as the shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei, is still unknown. In this study, confocal microscopy analysis showed that LvCdc42 located in both cytoplasm and nucleus of S2 cells depended on its structure. The silencing LvCdc42 induced an increase in the expression of Lvp53 and Lvcaspase-3. When LvCdc42-silenced shrimps were stressed with Vibrio alginolyticus, the expression of Lvp53 and Lvcaspase-3 was markedly up-regulated. Moreover, the increase in the apoptosis rate in hemocytes and in cumulative mortality were in line with Lvp53 mRNA expression. These data suggest that the molecular switch LvCdc42 acts as a negative regulator of Lvp53 and participates in the apoptosis of hemocytes when L. vannamei is challenged with V. alginolyticus.