Characterization and functional analysis of a novel C-type lectin from the swimming crabPortunus trituberculatus

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C-type lectins (CTLs) are a family of calcium-dependent carbohydrate-binding proteins. In the present study, a novel C-type lectin (designated as PtCTL1) was identified and characterized from Portunus trituberculatus. The full-length cDNA of PtCTL1 was of 702 bp, containing a 5′ untranslated region (UTR) of 91 bp, a 3′ UTR of 110 bp with a poly (A) tail, and an open reading frame (ORF) of 501 bp encoding a polypeptide of 166 amino acids with a putative signaling peptide of 21 amino acids. A C-type lectin carbohydrate-recognition domain (CRD) containing four conserved cysteines was identified in the amino acid sequence of PtCTL1. The cDNA fragment encoding the mature peptide of PtCTL1 was recombined into pET-21a(+) with a C-terminal hexa-histidine tag fused in-frame and expressed in Escherichia coli Origami (DE3). The recombinant PtCTL1 (rPtCTL1) can agglutinate all the tested bacteria, including three Gram-positive bacterial strains and three Gram-negative bacterial strains. In addition, erythrocyte agglutination and LPS-binding activity were observed in a Ca2+-dependent manner. The erythrocyte agglutination was inhibited by EDTA, indicating that PtCTL1 was Ca2+-dependent. The mRNA transcripts of PtCTL1 were detected mainly in the tissues of hepatopancreas and hemocytes and its levels were significantly up-regulated in hemocytes following Vibrio alginolyticus challenge. These results indicate that PtCTL1 may function as a pattern recognition receptor (PRR) for protecting P. trituberculatus from bacterial infection. Moreover, such findings also provide evidence for further understanding the innate immunology of invertebrate.

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