Copper-zinc-superoxide dismutase (CuZnSOD), an antioxidant gene from seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis); molecular cloning, sequence characterization, antioxidant activity and potential peroxidation function of its recombinant protein

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Copper-zinc-superoxide dismutase (CuZnSOD) from Hippocampus abdominalis (HaCuZnSOD) is a metalloenzyme which belongs to the ubiquitous family of SODs. Here, we determined the characteristic structural features of HaCuZnSOD, analyzed its evolutionary relationships, and identified its potential immune responses and biological functions in relation to antioxidant defense mechanisms in the seahorse. The gene had a 5′ untranslated region (UTR) of 67 bp, a coding sequence of 465 bp and a 3′ UTR of 313 bp. The putative peptide consists of 154 amino acids. HaCuZnSOD had a predicted molecular mass of 15.94 kDa and a theoretical pI value of 5.73, which is favorable for copper binding activity. In silico analysis revealed that HaCuZnSOD had a prominent Cu-Zn_superoxide_dismutase domain, two Cu/Zn signature sequences, a putative N-glycosylation site, and several active sites including Cu2+ and Zn2+ binding sites. The three dimensional structure indicated a β-sheet barrel with 8 β-sheets and two short α-helical regions. Multiple alignment analyses revealed many conserved regions and active sites among its orthologs. The highest amino acid identity to HaCuZnSOD was found in Siniperca chuatsi (87.4%), while Maylandia zebra shared a close relationship in the phylogenetic analysis. Functional assays were performed to assess the antioxidant, biophysical and biochemical properties of overexpressed recombinant (r) HaCuZnSOD. A xanthine/XOD assay gave optimum results at pH 9 and 25 °C indicating these may be the best conditions for its antioxidant action in the seahorse. An MTT assay and flow cytometry confirmed that rHaCuZnSOD showed peroxidase activity in the presence of HCO3−. In all the functional assays, the level of antioxidant activity of rHaCuZnSOD was concentration dependent; metal ion supplementation also increased its activity. The highest mRNA expressional level of HaCuZnSOD was found in blood. Temporal assessment under pathological stress showed a delay response by HaCuZnSOD. Our findings demonstrated that HaCuZnSOD is an important antioxidant, which might be involved in the host antioxidant defense mechanism against oxidative stress.

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