ChAkt1 involvement in orchestrating the immune and heat shock responses in Crassostrea hongkongensis: Molecular cloning and functional characterization

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G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest class of cell-surface receptors and play crucial roles in virtually every organ system. As one of the major downstream effectors of GPCRs, Akt can acquire information from the receptors and coordinate intracellular responses for many signaling pathways, through which the serine/threonine kinase masters numerous aspects of biological processes, such as cell survival, growth, proliferation, migration, angiogenesis, and metabolism. In the present study, we have characterized the first Akt1 ortholog in mollusks using the Hong Kong oyster, Crassostrea hongkongensis (designed ChAkt1). The full-length cDNA is 2223 bp and encodes a putative protein of 493 amino acids that contains an amino-terminal pleckstin homology (PH) domain, a central catalytic domain, and a carboxy-terminal regulatory domain. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis showed that ChAkt1 mRNA is broadly expressed in various tissues and during different stages of the oyster's embryonic and larval development. Upon exposure to two stressors (microbial infection and heat shock), the expression level of ChAkt1 mRNA increases significantly. Furthermore, ChAkt1 is located in the cytoplasm in HEK293T cells, where the over-expression of ChAkt1 regulates the transcriptional activities of NF-κB and p53 reporter genes. Taken together, our results indicate that ChAkt1 most likely plays a central role in response to various stimuli in oysters and has a particular response to microbial pathogens and high temperature.

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